Archaeological Concepts of Remoteness and Land-Use in Prehistoric Alaska

  • Kathryn Krasinski


For the first Americans to establish territories in the New World, the concept of remoteness must have differed considerably from later periods. The Middle Susitna Valley of south-central Alaska was sparsely occupied during the late Pleistocene and underwent millenia of marginal exploration by the earliest Alaskans prior to becoming fully colonized in the early Holocene. For most of prehistory the Susitna Valley was socially and economically “remote.” Disequilibrium dynamics likely influenced cultural adaptations in the Middle Susitna Valley, ultimately transforming a geographically remote location into a familiar place through experience. Reduced remoteness is manifested in cultural traditions that include trails, place names, material culture, and religious beliefs. In the case of the Middle Susitna region its remote position facilitated the maintenance of band level society political organization adjacent to developing social complexity along the coast.


Remoteness Landscape learning Place names Disequilibrium dynamics Susitna Valley Alaska 



I thank Felix Riede and Arctic Research Center, Aarhus University for inviting this contribution to their special issue. I also thank Daron Duke, Matthew Des Lauriers, Brian Wygal, and three anonymous reviewers for thought-provoking ideas that improved the quality of this paper.


Fieldwork which formed the basis of this analysis was funded by Adelphi University, Matanuska-Susitna Borough, and a Coastal Management Zone grant (2004).

Compliance with Ethical Statements

Conflict of Interest

The author declares there is no conflict of interest.

Informed Consent

Human subjects were not used in this research.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyAdelphi UniversityGarden CityUSA

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