Last updated: December 8, 2017
- Cape Denbigh Peninsula, Alaska
- The first evidence of the Denbigh Flint Complex (2000 - 3000 BC) and the Norton culture (500 BC - AD 400), both pivotal for the understanding of Arctic history.
- National Historic Landmark, since January 20, 1961
- OPEN TO PUBLIC:
- MANAGED BY:
- Shaktoolik Native Corporation
The Iyatayet site, located on Norton Bay and excavated by pioneer Arctic archaeologist J.L. Giddings, has three separate time periods of occupation. At the bottom, dating to about 5,000 years ago, he found small, beautifully chipped tools, which he christened as the Denbigh Flint Complex and recognized as ancestral to later expressions of Eskimo culture in Alaska.
The overlying Norton culture marked the first appearance of pottery and large permanent winter villages in the Arctic, while the upper level, named Nukleet, was dated to the last millennium.
Giddings’ discovery of the Denbigh Flint Complex did not just represent a local culture, but was later acknowledged as one variation of the Arctic Small Tool tradition, a prehistoric way of life subsequently found along the entire coastline of North America from the Bering Sea to the northernmost tip of Greenland.
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