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A Clay Source Provenance Survey in Northwest Alaska: Late Holocene Ceramic Production in the Arctic
Journal of Field Archaeology
  • Shelby L. Anderson, Portland State University
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Ceramic compositional analysis can contribute to the study of late Holocene Arctic hunter-gatherer social interaction through reconstruction of past ceramic distribution patterns. The results of an ethnographically informed clay source survey in Northwest Alaska are presented here. The survey provided contextual data on clay depositional environments, clay variability, and local environmental factors that influenced pre-contact clay availability. Geochemical analysis of clays and tempers clarified the location of ceramic production zones. Concurrence between survey results and ethnographic data highlights the persistence of clay knowledge despite post-contact absence of pottery making. This research demonstrates that ethnographically informed source survey can aid in interpreting ceramic geochemical data and yield important insights into pre-contact ceramic production processes.


© Trustees of Boston University 2016

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Anderson, S. L. (2016). A Clay source provenance survey in Northwest Alaska: Late Holocene ceramic production in the Arctic. Journal of Field Archaeology, 41(3), 238-254.