Archaeology of Late Prehistoric Lakeside Settlements in Northwest Alaska

Petroglyph boulder on the beach near Late Prehistoric village site at Desperation Lake (photo by Eric Carlson)

The University of Alaska Museum of the North and the National Park Service are initiating a collaborative research project within Noatak National Preserve to map and evaluate three Late Prehistoric village sites. These sites are located adjacent to lakes within the Brooks Range of northern Alaska and are significant because they contain rare types of features, such as large, stone-ringed communal structures (qargi), petroglyphs, and exceptionally dense concentrations of house, storage, and hunting-related features. These sites represent a unique period in the prehistory of interior northern Alaska characterized by large settlements within a region that has otherwise been occupied by thinly spread and mobile human groups.