Small mammals and paleovironmental context of the terminal pleistocene and early holocene human occupation of central Alaska
AffiliationUniv Arizona, Bur Appl Res Anthropol
MetadataShow full item record
CitationLanoë, FB, Reuther, JD, Holmes, CE, Potter, BA. Small mammals and paleovironmental context of the terminal pleistocene and early holocene human occupation of central Alaska. Geoarchaeology. 2019; 1– 13. https://doi.org/10.1002/gea.21768
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AbstractThis paper explores paleoenvironmental and paleoecological information that may be obtained from small-mammal assemblages recovered at central Alaska archaeological sites dated to the terminal Pleistocene and early Holocene (14,500-8,000 cal B.P.). Small-mammal remains in these open-air sites are primarily related to deposition by natural death causes and as such provide information on site paleoenvironments and landscape heterogeneity. Their presence within archaeological occupations likely relates to anthropogenic disturbance and features that would have favored burrow construction. The co-occurrence of small-mammal remains and archaeological occupations provides a chronological framework of presence in the locality for most recorded small-mammal species. Small-mammal remains document faunal turnover between Pleistocene and Holocene communities. The near-contemporaneity of species that strongly differ in their ecological requirements suggest that the terminal Pleistocene and early Holocene in central Alaska was a period of dynamic change that may have been characterized by patchy vegetation distribution, rather than the climax communities seen today. In addition to the biogeographical value of small-mammal remains the paleoenvironmental information that they provide help to characterize the ecology of early human settlers in the region and the processes behind human dispersal in Beringia and the Americas at the end of the Ice Age.
Note12 month embargo; published online: 14 October 2019
VersionFinal accepted manuscript
SponsorsAmerican Philosophical Society; University of Alaska Museum of the North; School of Anthropology, University of Arizona; Alaska State Historic Preservation Office; National Science FoundationNational Science Foundation (NSF) [BCS-1504654, PLR-1138811, PLR-0540235, PLR-1107631, PLR-1223119]