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date: 24 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This article presents a panorama of cultural variation in the archaeology of the circumpolar zone and touches on central processes of socio-economic change related to both ecological contexts and regional interaction. It provides a historical retrospective of changing perspectives in circumpolar archaeology and examines a series of geographical regions including northern Fennoscandinavia, Siberia, and the Bering Strait. It explains that culturally, the circumpolar zone has supported a variety of societies ranging from small, mobile, egalitarian Inuit seal-hunting bands, to reindeer hunters and herders, to semi-sedentary whale-hunting societies with large villages and social hierarchies. The circumpolar zone displays more cultural diversity and dynamism than the nasty, brutish, and frigid stereotype would lead one to believe.

Keywords: circumpolar zone, cultural variation, socio-economic change, regional interaction, archaeology, cultural diversity, cultural dynamism, Fennoscandinavia, Siberia, Bering Strait

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