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date: 12 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter presents the availability of wood in different subregions of Arctic North America and discusses its use and importance through time and across space in Arctic human settlements. The main wood resource available along the treeless Arctic coast was driftwood, a resource for which availability varied with climate and environmental conditions. Detailed data on early wood used as fuel are scant, but remains are known as early as the first settlement of Alaska. For some archaeologists, availability of wood as fuel is tightly linked to the early colonization of Eastern Beringia at the end of the Pleistocene. In later cultural developments, abundant wood remains show the resource as critical for architecture and small carpentry. Hunting and transport required wood constructions, making wood a valuable commodity. Arctic permafrost leads to remarkable preservation, providing the opportunity to analyze and better understand wood technology and use even in the most remote areas.

Keywords: wood, driftwood, technology, fuel, architecture, carpentry, xylology, anthracology, dendrochronology

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