Alaskan Archaeology

Upward Sun River

Ben Potter

This excavation at Upward Sun River ( Xaasaa Na') is part of a multi-year NSF-funded project to explore eastern Beringian adaptations in the late Pleistocene and early Holocene. The research focuses on technological organization and subsistence economy, specifically how they are conditioned by site structure, social organization, seasonality, and paleoenvironmental contexts. This work involves excavations at four sites in the Tanana valley and geoarchaeology, stable isotope geochemistry, and paleobotanical analyses at multiple scales. The project addresses a suite of behaviors that remain poorly conceptualized and understudied in early North American archaeology given the dearth of residential structures and human burials. Key questions are of interest to a broad range of scientists, including adaptive strategies associated with the initial colonization of the New World, the nature of human subsistence activities through the Pleistocene-Holocene transition, and organization of human behavior at local and intra-regional scales, and landscape use and changes in these through time as responses to natural and social environmental change.


Croxton Site, Locality J

Photo courtesy of Dr. S. Craig Gerlach

Josh Reuther

Dr. Reuther’s recent research has primarily focused on understanding changes in human technological, settlement, and subsistence systems within local ecological and environmental contexts in subarctic and arctic settings. He is trained as an archaeologist with a strong background in the geosciences. The vast majority of his current work involves collaborations across disciplines. His current field-based research areas include the middle Tanana Valley in interior Alaska, the western Alaska Range in southcentral, the middle Kuskokwim River region in southwestern Alaska, and on the North Slope of northern Alaska.

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