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date: 17 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores the antiquity and evolution of Subarctic maritime traditions in the Beringian North Pacific—precursors of maritime cultures that ultimately pushed north and east across the Canadian and Greenlandic Arctic. Boat-based, maritime economies and settlement show up by the Pleistocene-Holocene transition in the relatively warm Subarctic Northeast Pacific (Gulf of Alaska and Aleutians) but appear delayed by 5,000 or more years in the Northwest Pacific and Bering and Chukchi seas. Potential biases of preservation and research histories are examined and dismissed, and two environmental models are proposed to explain the delay (or disruption) of maritime settlement in the seasonally frozen Okhotsk, Bering, and Chukchi seas. Late Holocene maritime traditions intensify and converge in all regions of the Subarctic and Arctic Pacific over the past 2,000–3,000 years, forging a common ecological, economic, technological, and social orientation, where none had previously existed.

Keywords: maritime, Subarctic, Beringia, North Pacific, Paleo-Arctic, boats

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