Archaeology of Interior Alaska
Dates: July 14th-25th
Experience Alaskan archaeology from the field to the museum! This module will immerse students in the world of professional archaeology through field and laboratory based activities, with the intention of introducing them to potential career paths in archaeology and museum studies. Investigations in 2014 will either focus on the Historic Chena town site or the Prehistoric Simpson site, both located along the Tanana River, Alaska (near the Rosie Creek subdivision). Both sites have the potential to provide a great deal of information concerning the ways humans lived in the Fairbanks area.
This module will involve six daily trips to the field site. While at the site, students will use excavation tools such as trowels, total station, GPS technology, mapping techniques, and field computers to document our finds. The team will also work at the Archaeology Laboratory at the University of Alaska Museum of the North. There, students will employ a range of computer software and scientific methods to decipher clues from artifacts, animal bones, soils, and plant remains to understand the activities that occurred at the site and how people 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!
Trips will be made from UAF to and from the site each day. There will be no overnight camping involved with this module.
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.
Jim Whitney is an historical archaeologist and owner of an archaeology consulting company based in Fairbanks, Alaska. He earned his B.S. from Cornell University, an M.A. in Museology from the University of Washington, and an M.A. in Anthropology from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. His work focuses on heritage preservation, particularly on ensuring the proper care of artifacts. His research focus is on the historical archaeology of the American west, specifically the gold rush period of Alaska, and investigating cultural change in frontier communities. “I love to travel and explore new places and cultures and archaeology is the best way to visit the past…until we invent time travel. Through archaeology we can interact with the people of the past and artifacts are the physical connections to these people.” This will be his fifth season with ASRA.
Scott Shirar is a Research Archaeologist at the University of Alaska Museum of the North. He earned his B.A. in Anthropology at Indiana University and his M.A. 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 now located in 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 first 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.”
Chris Houlette is the Museum Curator for Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve and Yukon-Charley RIvers National Preserve. He earned a B.S. in Anthropology from the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
"Much of my research has focused on contact and interaction between cultures, a topic which I find particularly interesting. I have an equal fascination with both historic and prehistoric archaeology and enjoy collections based research as much as doing field work. I especially appreciate sharing these interests with others and look forward to my fifth year with ASRA."