Title

The Geoarchaeology of Raven Bluff, a Fluted Point Site in NW Alaska

Presenter Information

Ian Buvit

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Location

SURC 301

Start Date

17-5-2012

End Date

17-5-2012

Abstract

Raven Bluff is located on a remnant limestone knob overlooking a series of cut terraces formed when the Kivalina River dissected glacial outwash. The site is located on a poorly drained, flat area near the top of the knob. Radiocarbon dates indicate that the site was initially utilized at least 10,000 radiocarbon years ago. Much of the Raven Bluff landform is mantled by coarse, grain-supported limestone gravel covered by a thin veneer of loess, but sub-surface testing identified a portion of the site containing an artifact-rich, 1.5 m-deep layer of matrix-supported gravel overlain by as much as 65 cm of clayey and silty mud. Despite evidence of freeze-thaw and rodent activity at the site, the archaeological material is relatively undisturbed. Understanding formation processes and stratigraphy is important here because of the site's rare Late Pleistocene-age faunal assemblage and artifacts (microblades, fluted points) that previously have had poor chronological control in Arctic Alaska.

Faculty Mentor(s)

Ian Buvit

Additional Mentoring Department

Anthropology

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May 17th, 4:10 PM May 17th, 4:30 PM

The Geoarchaeology of Raven Bluff, a Fluted Point Site in NW Alaska

SURC 301

Raven Bluff is located on a remnant limestone knob overlooking a series of cut terraces formed when the Kivalina River dissected glacial outwash. The site is located on a poorly drained, flat area near the top of the knob. Radiocarbon dates indicate that the site was initially utilized at least 10,000 radiocarbon years ago. Much of the Raven Bluff landform is mantled by coarse, grain-supported limestone gravel covered by a thin veneer of loess, but sub-surface testing identified a portion of the site containing an artifact-rich, 1.5 m-deep layer of matrix-supported gravel overlain by as much as 65 cm of clayey and silty mud. Despite evidence of freeze-thaw and rodent activity at the site, the archaeological material is relatively undisturbed. Understanding formation processes and stratigraphy is important here because of the site's rare Late Pleistocene-age faunal assemblage and artifacts (microblades, fluted points) that previously have had poor chronological control in Arctic Alaska.