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Norton Tradition


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Archaic Stage hunter‐gatherer communities centred on the coastal regions of Alaska in the period c.1000 bc to ad 800. The Norton Tradition succeeds after a short hiatus the Arctic Small Tool Tradition of the same area, but was probably not descended directly from it. Rather, Norton Tradition communities probably originated among contemporary cultures living in Siberia. Norton groups were heavily reliant on both coastal and terrestrial resources: caribou, small mammals, fish, and sea mammals.

Many Norton settlements lay beside major salmon streams. Their houses mainly comprise square semi‐subterranean dwellings with short sloping entrances, central hearths, and pole and sod roofs. Material culture includes the earliest pottery in Alaska: check‐stamped ware showing affinities with broadly contemporary Asian wares. Stone lamps were also introduced.

Chronological subdivisions of the Norton Tradition include the Choris Stage (1000–500 bc), the Norton Stage (500 bc–ad 800), and the Ipiutak Stage (ad 1–800).

Subjects: Archaeology.


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