Task-Specific Sites and Paleoindian Landscape Use in the Shaw Creek Flats, Alaska

François B. Lanoë, Joshua D. Reuther, Charles E. Holmes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The Shaw Creek Flats and nearby middle Tanana river, in central Alaska, constitute one of the areas in the Americas with the densest known distribution of Late Glacial (about 14,500–11,700 cal. B.P.) archaeological sites. Local high rates of sediment deposition and low post-depositional disturbance allow for the interpretation of the function of archaeological occupations within larger economic and mobility strategies. Residential sites used over the long term seem to be located near critical but immovable resources such as clear water and vegetation. The spatial association of artifacts and faunal remains at other sites in the Flats suggest that they were specialized, short-lived locations dedicated to a single or few activities. For instance, the site of Swan Point Cultural Zone 4b is interpreted as a workshop related to the production of composite tools, particularly on mammoth ivory, and the site of Keystone Dune is interpreted as a camp related to wapiti (Cervus elaphus) hunting. These task-specific sites and others were probably used as part of a predominantly logistical mobility and economy strategy, which maximized efficiency in harvesting and processing resources that were distributed heterogeneously on the landscape.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)818-838
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Archaeological Method and Theory
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2018


  • Beringia
  • Landscape
  • Mobility
  • Paleoindian

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology


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