• Sand dune field paleoenvironment, paleoecology, and human environmental interaction in the middle Tanana River Valley near the Gerstle River, subarctic Alaska: the late glacial to the middle Holocene

      Bowman, Robert C.; Reuther, Joshua D.; Potter, Ben A.; Clark, Jamie L. (2017-08)
      This study was conducted to explore paleoenvironmental change within the Gerstle-Sawmill Dune Field (GSDF), located just west of the Gerstle River in the middle Tanana River valley, Interior Alaska from the late Glacial to the middle Holocene. Specifically, this study was undertaken to document human-environment interaction on the landscape. Geoarchaeological methods were used in order to determine the history of sand dune development across the area, how the local ecological systems changed through time, and determine prehistoric human use of environment and response to environmental and ecological change. The data collected from these locations was used to create a model for sand dunes and human land use regarding local ecological stability and dynamic sand dune deposition. Patterns of human land use within the GSDF were then compared with data collected from sites in proximity to the GSDF to determine how this portion of the environment operated within the larger geographic area. This geoarchaeological research aids in understanding ecological patterning within terrestrial lowland systems from the Late Glacial to the Middle Holocene, with regard to human land use dynamics within a changing geomorphological system.