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Gilbert, P.J., 2011

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Gilbert, P.J., 2011, Micromorphology, site spatial variation and patterning, and climate change at the Mead Site (XBD-071): A multi-component archaeological site in interior Alaska: University of Alaska Fairbanks, M.A. thesis, xii., 221 p., illust., maps.


The Mead Site, in the Tanana River Valley in Interior Alaska, is a deeply buried archaeology site with multiple occupations and excellent preservation. The site provides a rare opportunity to study the human/climate relationship in prehistory. Magnetic susceptibility, micromorphology, geochemical, and spatial analysis were utilized to (1) determine the amount of post-depositional disturbance at the site, (2) see if there are detectable buried surfaces that indicate cultural occupation in the upper stratigraphic layers and, (3) investigate the paleosols at the site and determine if the occupations at the site correlate with ameliorating climate. The results show that the upper three cultural zones are heavily disturbed by taphonomic processes to the point that assignment of the remains to cultural zones is suspect. The lower two components have also been affected by post-depositional disturbance, but the patterning of cultural remains in these zones is primarily a reflection of the original depositional context. No buried surfaces were detected in the upper stratigraphic layers, and the paleosols are natural in origin but are anthropogenically enhanced. The cultural zones at the site are more closely associated with cool episodes than with periods of ameliorating climate.

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