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Bluefish Caves



Bluefish Caves is the name of a Paleoarctic archaeological site composed by a series of small caves located in the Yukon Territory, Canada. The site represents one of the earliest evidence of human occupation in the North American continent. Remains of Pleistocene mammoth, bison, horse, caribou and muskoxen, were found in shallow deposits within three limestone cavities located above the Bluefish river.

Along with the Ice Age fauna, tools made out of stone and animal bones were found in these caves. These included microcores, microblades, flakes, and burins. Artifacts are still under studiy, but radiocarbon analyses carried out on some of the animal bones produced a series of dates spanning from 20,000 to 12,000 years ago.

The microblade technology exemplified at Bluefish cave is similar to the later stone tool tradition called Denali complex, a typical Alaskan Paleoarctic tradition, which derives from the Siberian Diuktai complex, dating around 14-13,000 B.P.

A more secure dating of the Bluefish Caves collection will only come from further studies and a stronger association between datable organic remains and stone artifacts.


This glossary entry is a part of the Dictionary of Archaeology.

Cinq-Mars Jaques, 1979, Bluefish Cave I: A Late Pleistocene Eastern Beringian Cave Deposit in the Northern Yukon, in Canadian Journal of Archaeology, n.3, pp, 1-32.

Gibbon, Guy, 1998, Bluefish Cave, in Archaeology of Prehistoric Native America: An Encyclopedia, edited by Guy Gibbon and Kenneth M. Ames, Garland Publishing., pp: 81

Morlan, Richard E., 2003, Current perspective on the Pleistocene archaeology of eastern Beringia, Quaternary Research, Vol. 60, 1, pp. 123-132

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