Museum

Quartz Lake sites

Lakes and wetlands were very important places and served as valuable resources to interior Alaskans. Along the shores of and the hills above Quartz Lake lay several archaeological sites that date between the years 988 to 1840, which attest to the importance of these lakes to people’s subsistence system. Quartz Lake is within the traditional territories of the Salcha-Goodpaster of the Salcha-Goodpaster bands of the Middle Tanana Athabascans. Ttheech'el Menn', meaning 'broken rock lake', is the name for the lake in the Middle Tanana language, possibly for the large amount of broken quartz and schistic rocks along its shorelines.

Shaw Creek People from the villages of either Goodpaster, Salcha or Delta (unknown), circa 1905.

 The shoreline sites each contain a large amount of moose remains where people camped and processed animals for their meat and hides. The sites also have a large number of stone scrapers for skinning and hide processing. Other animal remains include northern pike, burbot, grouse, waterfowl, beaver, snowshoe hare, muskrat, and brown bear. Stone projectile points used as darts and arrow tips attest to hunting activities in the adjacent wetlands and at the lake. The sites dating to the early historic period (around 1840) have a small amount of iron and trade beads, which illustrates limited contact with Western traders, but the activities during this period remained the same.

        

Excavations at shoreline sites along Quartz Lake, 2014 (Photo by J. Reuther).

        Selected artifacts from the Quartz Lake sites. (Photos by UAMN).

 

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