Palethnological approach to prehistoric hunter-gatherers from the Alaskan boreal forest
The Nenana valley near Healy, Alaska, has been the site of many decades of prehistoric archaeological research focused on the late Pleistocene and early Holocene records, thus documenting the initial settlements of humans in the New World. New research at the Little Panguingue Creek site (HEA-038) will provide us with important information about Pleistocene-Holocene human activities in the Nenana valley foothills. This multi-component site is located on a Healy-aged glacial-outwash terrace, overlooking Little Panguingue Creek. A new multi-year excavation program, began in 2015, revealed a c. 9,600 cal yr BP knapping workshop (hammerstones, cores, preforms, cortical spalls, tools, debitage, etc.) with a major microblade component dating from the final phase of the Denali Complex, along with an older component dating to c. 11,150 cal yr BP. The on-going research at the site will further our understanding of human technological, subsistence, and settlement organization in the Nenana valley (and beyond) during the Pleistocene/Holocene transition. One of the main objectives of this project is to develop a paleoethnological approach to this site. In other words, not simply understanding the chrono-cultural complexes present, but understanding this campsite in detail. In order to do this, we have planned extensive excavations, new surveying techniques (GPR, magnetic, etc.), and the application of specific disciplines (lithic technology, raw materials provenience, use-wear analysis, spatial analysis, refitting, etc.).