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Paleo-Eskimo Archaeology

— Paleo-Eskimos are the ancient ancestors of modern Natives in Alaska, Canada, and Greenland. In Alaska, the earliest members of this group are known by a distinctive stone tool technology called the Denbigh Flint Complex (say DEN-bee). Travel with archaeologists into the field as they dig to uncover artifacts from this long-ago tradition.

Denbigh people were the first humans to colonize most of Arctic North America 5000 years ago. At Lake Matcharak archaeologists uncovered a Paleo-Eskimo hunting camp containing Denbigh-era artifacts and animal bones. Although 75-100 Denbigh sites are known in Alaska, only a handful (literally) of bone fragments are known from all of these sites. The condition of shallow permafrost and the ongoing formation of peat at Matcharak Lake were just right to preserve the animal remains of many Denbigh meals. The discovery of this frozen bone midden (prehistoric trash dump) will allow archaeologists to reconstruct the behavior of these Native Alaskans.

Paleo-Eskimo Archaeology
Paleo-Eskimo Archaeology

You can browse a photo album of the Lake Matcharak excavations in Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

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