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A Journey to a New Land

Post secondary Level Resources

Yana RHS Site

The Yana RHS archaeological site is located near the mouth of the Yana River in Siberia, 500 km north of the Arctic Circle. The site was investigated in 2001 and 2003 by archaeologist Vladimir Pitulko.

Radiocarbon dating has revealed a surprisingly early date of 27,000 years BP for human occupation at the site. Prior to the discovery of Yana, the earliest known occupation of this Arctic region was the Berelekh site, dated to about 13,000 – 14,000 years BP.

Artifacts found at the Yana RHS site include tools made of rhinoceros horn and mammoth tusk, and hundreds of stone artifacts including choppers, scrapers and other biface tools. No evidence of a blade technology has been found.

Yana RHS is an important site because it demonstrates that humans had adapted to a harsh Arctic environment much earlier than was previously thought. In addition, the site’s location near the Bering Land Bridge and its early occupation date may ultimately offer clues to help resolve some of the questions about the first peopling of the Americas.

Further Reading:

Pitulko, V., P. A. Nikolsky, E. Y. Girya, A. E. Basilyan, V. E. Tumskoy, S. A. Koulakov, S. N. Astakhov, E. Y. Pavlova and M. A. Anisimov
2004 The Yana RHS Site: Humans in the Arctic before the Last Glacial Maximum. Science 303:52 – 56.