Archaeology of Interior Alaska

Dates: July 20-31, 2015

Cost: $700

Experience Alaskan archaeology from the field to the museum! This module will immerse students in the world of professional archaeology through field and lab based activities, with the intention of introducing them to potential career paths in archaeology and museum studies. Investigations will focus on the famous Teklanika West archaeological site in Denali National Park and Preserve. This ice age site has the potential to provide a great amount of information regarding the ways humans lived during the last 13,000 years!

Humans have lived in Alaska for the last 14,000 years and we are surrounded by many fascinating archaeological sites that few people think about. This July, students will accompany a team of archaeologists on excavations at the site, while visiting other archaeological sites in the area. We will use excavation tools such as trowels, total station, GPS technology, and field computers to document our finds.

Module setting/conditions:

This module will involve a 6-day field expedition to Denali National Park and Preserve. Students will travel by van and camp at a campground near the archaeological site during the duration of the excavations. Excavations will be carried out at the site with visits and field trips to the surrounding area. The team will also work at the Archaeology Laboratory at the University of Alaska Museum of the North. There, we will employ a range of scientific methods to decipher clues from artifacts, animal bones, soils, and plant remains to understand the various activities occurring at the site and how humans lived in the past. Students will also learn how museum professionals preserve and store artifacts and samples so that they are available for future research. Come and join the investigation and help make new discoveries!

NOTE: this module will include attendance during the weekend of July 25th.

This module is a partnership between Denali National Park and Preserve, the UA Museum of the North, and the College of Natural Science and Mathematics at UAF.



Josh Reuther

Josh Reuther is the Curator in the Archaeology Department at the University of Alaska Museum of the North. He has earned degrees in Anthropology from the University of Alaska Fairbanks (B.A., M.A.) and the University of Arizona (Ph.D.).

Josh is trained as an archaeologist with a strong emphasis on archaeological sciences and geosciences. His recent research focuses on reconstructing past environments, and understanding how humans adapt to subarctic and arctic ecological systems. He is very excited to be involved in joining the ASRA archaeology team.

Scott Shirar

Scott Shirar is the archaeology collection manager at the University of Alaska Museum of the North. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology at Indiana University and his Master of Arts in Anthropology at UAF.

“My first experience with archaeology was when I enrolled in the archaeological field school during the summer session after my freshman year at Indiana University. During that field school we spent four weeks excavating a thousand-year-old abandoned village site which is now a farmer’s cornfield in south-central Indiana. After my first day in the field I was hooked on archaeology, where you never know what the next trowel stroke will uncover. I look forward to my third year participating in the ASRA program and to teaching students how archaeology is carried out in the field and in the laboratory to learn about past human culture.”  

Sam Coffman

Sam Coffman is the Research Archaeologist/GIS coordinator at the University of Alaska Museum of the North. He earned his MA in Anthropology from UAF and his BA from the University of Nevada, Reno.

"My research interests include the prehistory of Alaska, hunter-gatherer landscape-use/adaptation, the integrating of computers and mapping software into archaeology, and lithic analysis. Archaeology is a rewarding field, offering you a chance to explore and travel to new places while continuing in the quest to understand past human lifeways. This will be my fourth year being involved in ASRA, and honestly can’t wait! The 2015 ASRA project will be a great opportunity for all those involved. We’re expecting to find a very interesting artifact assemblage, so come and be a part of the discovery!"

Fawn Carter

Fawn Carter is the registrar and assistant archaeology collection manager at the University of Alaska Museum of the North. She earned both her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees in Anthropology at UAF.

“Archaeology combines some of my favorite activities such as being outdoors, studying prehistory, lab analysis, and playing in the dirt. The idea of finding artifacts that are thousands of years old and using them to reconstruct past cultures and lifestyles is remarkable and has always appealed to me. This will be my first year with ASRA and I can’t wait to inspire and teach the next generation of archaeologists.”

Back to Top