Bering Strait Trade Systems – New Info from Cape Espenberg

I am a bit late in posting this “new” information about metal artifacts from research at Cape Espenberg, but another article on Cooper’s Alaskan copper research reminded me about the preliminary metal analysis results. Metal artifacts found in the oldest house we excavated, dated to about 1000 years ago, were sent to Kory Cooper at Purdue University for sourcing analysis.  While the source for the metal artifacts is not yet known, analysis showed that they are not made of native cooper and point to cross-Bering Strait trade as the mechanism that brought the artifacts to Espenberg.  Northeast Asia is a potential source for the cast metal objects.

Cast metal buckle recovered from Cape Espenberg, Alaska

This prehistoric cast metal artifact, about 5 centimeters (cm) long, 2.5 cm wide, and less than 2.5 cm thick, is the first to be found in Alaska. Photo courtesy of Jeremy Foin, University of California Davis. http://www.arcus.org/witness-the-arctic/2013/1/article/19624

It will be interesting to compare the results of my ceramic sourcing analysis with metal sourcing data.  While lithic sourcing is not currently planned at the site, it is clear that all of the stone material at the site was also imported as sand is the only local lithic resource.  More information on the metal objects in the original news article.

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