Museum

Historical Archaeology of Snare Creek: Documenting the History of a Han Athabascan Community in the Coal Creek Mining District

James Whitney (UAM), Chris Houlette (NPS), Jeff Rasic (UAM), Chris Allan (NPS)


NPS Historian Chris Allan conducts an oral history interview with Isaac Juneby as UAM archaeologists and ASRA students excavate the remains of the Juneby cabin in which Isaac lived as a child (photo by Chris Houlette)

The University of Alaska Museum of the North is partnering with the National Park Service to document the history of three Athabascan families who lived at Snare Creek in Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve. Willie Juneby, Susie Paul, and Harry David, Han Athabascans from Eagle Village, worked for the Coal Creek gold dredge and lived with their families at Snare Creek from 1945 to 1951. Archaeology at Snare Creek and oral history from the family members who lived at Snare Creek are being brought together to document this history. Excavations were conducted at Snare Creek in 2009 and 2010. Each summer, six high school students joined the crew as part of UAF's Alaska Summer Research Academy. In 2009, Isaac Juneby, who lived at the site as a child, joined the excavation. Excavations have yielded a rich archaeological record providing a tangible connection to the history and lives of these families. Information gathered from the archaeological fieldwork demonstrates the site’s potential to investigate economic and food systems as well as test the ability of artifacts to reflect site activity.


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