By: John F Hoffecker and Scott A Elias
352 pages, 79 figs, 11 tabs
Roughly 25,000 years ago sea level fell almost 400 feet below its present position, exposing a vast plain between Northeast Asia and Alaska. Across that plain, most likely, walked the first people of the New World. This book describes what we know about these people and the now partly submerged land, named Beringia, that they settled during the final millennia of the Ice Age.
We know that humans first occupied Beringia during a twilight period when rising sea levels had not yet caught up with warming climates. Although the land bridge between Northeast Asia and Alaska was still present, warmer and wetter climates were rapidly transforming the Beringian steppe into shrub tundra. The Human Ecology of Beringia synthesizes current research on the climates and biota of the period, suggesting that the absence of woody shrubs as "starter fuel" was the likely barrier to earlier settlement, and that from the outset the Beringians developed a postglacial economy similar to that of later northern interior peoples.
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