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Alaska Journal of Anthropology

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Prehistoric Land settlement patterns -- America, Inupiat -- Alaska -- Seward Peninsula, Seward Peninsula (Alaska)


Changing Arctic settlement patterns are associated with shifts in socioeconomic organization and interaction at both the inter- and intraregional levels; analysis of Arctic settlement patterns can inform research on the emergence and spread of Arctic maritime adaptations. Changes in late precontact settlement patterns in Northwest Alaska suggest significant shifts in subsistence and/or social organization, but the patterns themselves are not well understood. Prior research around Kotzebue Sound suggests three possible scenarios: (1) population decrease and dispersion from settlement centers after 550 cal bp, (2) population stability and dispersion after 550 cal bp, and (3) different settlement patterns in the northern and southern areas of Kotzebue Sound. We analyze site distribution and radiocarbon data from new research on the northern Seward Peninsula coast to address questions about local late precontact settlement patterns. Our results point to denser late precontact occupation of this region than previously understood, suggesting either population stability and dispersion after 550 cal bp or the development of differential settlement patterns around the Kotzebue Sound region. This research provides new information about late precontact settlement patterns in Northwest Alaska and contributes to the broader debate about the changing nature of Arctic maritime adaptations during the dynamic late Holocene period. Results also indicate that people in this region were well integrated into both Kotzebue Sound and more distant socioeconomic systems despite potential reduction or change in interaction spheres during the late precontact period.


This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Alaska Journal of Anthropology. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published and can be found with the following citation: Anderson, S. L., & Junge, J. A. (2017). Late Precontact Settlement on the Northern Seward Peninsula Coast: Results of Recent Fieldwork. Alaska Journal Of Anthropology, 15(1/2), 99-125.

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