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The Arctic Small Tool tradition

The Arctic Small Tool tradition represents a widespread phenomenon in the North American Arctic between approximately 4500 and 2800 BP. It is characterized by finely made microblades, spalled burins, small side and end scrapers, and side and end blades. It includes the Denbigh Flint complex in northern Alaska, the Independence I and Pre-Dorset cultures in Arctic Canada, and the Saqqaq (Sarqaq) culture in Greenland. It does not appear to be related to the preceding Paleo-arctic tradition and its most likely source is Eastern Siberia. ASTt peoples were the first humans to occupy the Canadian Arctic archipelago and Greenland, apparently entering those regions from Alaska in a rapid population movement around 4500 BP. In Alaska it appears to have developed into the cultures of the Norton tradition while in Arctic Canada it developed into the Dorset culture.

Click here to see pictures illustrating some characteristic ASTt artifacts and features.