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The Arctic Small Tool tradition is a broad cultural entity that developed along the Alaska Peninsulamarker, round Bristol Baymarker, and on the eastern shores of the Bering Straitmarker around 2500 BC. This was a terrestrial entity that had a highly distinctive toolkit of small blades (microblades) that were pointed at both ends and used as side or end barbs on arrows or spears made of other materials, such as bone or antler. Scrapers, engraving tools and adze blades were also included in their toolkits. Many researchers also assume that it was these Arctic Small Tool populations who first introduced the bow and arrow to the Arctic. Small Tool camps lie along the coasts and streams, to take advantage of seal or salmon populations. While some of the groups were fairly nomadic, more permanent, sod-roofed homes have also been identified from Small Tool using sites.

Later on, the Arctic Small Tool tradition branches off into two cultural variants, including the Pre-Dorset and Independence traditions. The major link from these new cultures to their common root is their tool technology.


  • Fagan, Brian. Ancient North America. Thames & Hudson, London. 2005, p. 179-81.

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