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THE ROSALIYA ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE: A SHORT-TERM COMPOSITE TOOL MAINTENANCE CAMP IN THE CENTRAL BROOKS RANGE, ALASKA.

Status Complete
Seeking Researchers No
Start Date 09/01/2005
End Date 06/30/2006
Funding Source N/A
Funding Amount
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Last Updated 07/05/2008 01:25AM
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Faculty
  Douglas Veltre

Student Researchers
  Nataliya Slobodina

Abstract

The Rosaliya archaeological site is a small prehistoric site located on a large terrace overlooking the Killik River in Central Brooks Range. Limited excavation in 2005 yielded stone artifacts such as microblades (razor sharp pieces of stone), burin spalls, an abrader, large projectile points, and waste flakes from stone tool production. According to the archaeological and ethnographic data, microblades were used as insets into bone or antler projectiles, thus combining the strength of osseous material with the sharpness of flaked stone. Analysis of these artifacts shows that activities at the Rosaliya site included the discard of used microblades and projectiles and the production of new microblades. A hearth feature uncovered during excavation was radiocarbon dated to around 5100-5200 years ago. Interestingly, at Onion Portage, a site that served as a foundation for the construction of the cultural sequence in Northern Alaska, microblades are not found in the layers dating to this time. Likewise, microblades are also not found at a large prehistoric village around Agiak Lake, a site whose artifacts match perfectly those from Onion Portage. Although in previous decades such differences in artifacts would have been put forth as evidence of different cultural affinities of the people, today archaeologists in Alaska and elsewhere (Siberia, for example) are investigating other viable interpretations - including the possibility that these were sites occupied by the same people, but having different functions. As a small site occupied for a short period of time, the Rosaliya site reminds us that the archaeological sequence in Northern Alaska is far from well-established.

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