Dry Creek revisited: New excavations, radiocarbon dates, and site formation inform on the peopling of Eastern Beringia

Kelly E. Graf, Lyndsay M. DiPietro, Kathryn E. Krasinski, Angela K. Gore, Heather L. Smith, Brendan J. Culleton, Douglas J. Kennett, David Rhode

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

The multicomponent Dry Creek site, located in the Nenana Valley, central Alaska, is arguably one of the most important archaeological sites in Beringia. Original work in the 1970s identified two separate cultural layers, called Components 1 and 2, thought to date to the terminal Pleistocene and suggesting that the site was visited by Upper Paleolithic huntergatherers between about 13,000 and 12,000 calendar years before present (cal B.P.). The oldest of these became the typeassemblage for the Nenana complex. Recently, some have questioned the geoarchaeological integrity of the site's early deposits, suggesting that the separated cultural layers resulted from natural postdepositional disturbances. In 2011, we revisited Dry Creek to independently assess the site's age and formation. Here we present our findings and reaffirm original interpretations of clear separation of two terminal Pleistocene cultural occupations. For the first time, we report direct radiocarbon dates on cultural features associated with both occupation zones, one dating to 13,485-13,305 and the other to 11,060-10,590 cal B.P.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)671-694
Number of pages24
JournalAmerican Antiquity
Volume80
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • History
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Archaeology
  • Museology

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