New Evidence of Prehistoric Trade With Asia Found at Bering Land Bridge Site


Four years ago, archaeologists announced they had found evidence on the Alaska side of the Bering Strait of trade with Asia that dated back about 1,000 years.

The evidence was a bronze fastener, possibly a belt buckle, that was created in eastern Asia and found at a site at Cape Espenberg in Alaska's archaeologically rich Bering Land Bridge National Preserve.

Now another newly analyzed object from the University of Colorado-led Cape Espenberg dig is providing more evidence of prehistoric trade or contacts between the residents of Northwest Alaska and their neighbors across the Bering Strait.

A flake of obsidian, a glassy volcanic rock, found at the site has been traced to Russia's Chukotka peninsula.

Obsidian, formed from molten rock that hardens too quickly to form crystals, carries the chemical fingerprint of its source.

"It's one of the things that we can very definitely say came from a specific place on the planet," said Jeff Rasic, a National Park Service archaeologist who analyzed the artifact. "We can say that this one came from Chukotka."