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date: 20 November 2018

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter provides an overview of precontact hunter-gatherer land use in the Subarctic region of northwest Canada. The earliest evidence of human presence in this region is found in the unglaciated areas of Yukon Territory at Bluefish Caves and the Little John Site. The role of an ice-free corridor in the Mackenzie Valley in the dispersal of early peoples remains unclear. Caribou-hunting strategies are used as a theme to explore regional histories between 7,000 B.P. and the beginning of the historic period. Migratory tundra caribou were a focal resource for many hunter-gatherer societies in this region. The emerging archaeological record of alpine ice patches provides a unique view of hunter-gatherer land use in alpine regions. The archaeological record of the Mackenzie Valley is one of the poorest known in all of North America. Throughout, the chapter highlights the strengths and weaknesses of the Subarctic archaeological record for interpreting precontact land use.

Keywords: Subarctic archaeology, Beringia, ice-free corridor, caribou, Pre-Dorset tradition, Taltheilei tradition, Alpine ice patches, Northwest microblade tradition

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