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A Journey to a New Land

Post secondary Level Resources

Dry Creek

Dry Creek is a look-out site on a bluff in the Nenana River Valley in south central Alaska. It was the first site in the Alaskan interior to yield firm evidence of a human presence in the region during the Late Pleistocene.

The earliest human occupation of the site (Component 1) dates to about 11,120 years BP. The stone tools found in Component 1 include bifaces, side scrapers and flake tools. The similarity of these tools to those found at other sites in south-central Alaska suggests that the occupants of these sites may have all belonged to the same cultural group, known today as the Nenana Complex.

Component 2 contains evidence of a later occupation of the site, around 10,690 years BP. The tools found in this layer were wedge-shaped microblade cores, burins, flakes and scrapers, consistent with a later regional tool manufacturing style, called the Denali Complex.

The few animal remains found at Dry Creek included those of Dall sheep (Ovis dalli) and wapiti (Cervus canadensis). Some gastroliths, or bird gizzard stones, were also recovered.

Further Reading:

Hoffecker, John F., W. Roger Powers, and Nancy H. Bigelow
1996 Dry Creek. In American Beginnings: The Prehistory and Palaeoecology of Beringia, edited by Frederick Hadleigh West, pp. 343-352. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.