Department Staff

Dr. Joshua Reuther
      Josh on Quartz Lake, interior Alaska, 2010
      (Photo by Jason Rogers)

Curator of Archaeology/Associate Professor of Anthropology

Josh worked in the Archaeology Department at UAMN as a student from 1998 to 2000, and has closely worked with the Museum for over 15 years before joining the Archaeology Department full-time in 2013. He also teaches in the Department of Anthropology at UAF.

He is trained as an archaeologist with a strong emphasis on archaeological sciences and geosciences, and highly values interdisciplinary research within archaeology and anthropology, often working across traditionally non-archaeologically and non-anthropologically disciplinary frameworks. Josh is also grateful to be involved in several collaborative projects working with members of both urban and rural communities to understand the history and prehistory and development of landscapes in their regions. He spent several years working for a private cultural resources management firm in Alaska as a Senior Project Archaeologist and Lab Manager before joining the UAF Anthropology faculty, which provided him a background in cultural and heritage resource laws and practices.

His 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 currently serves as a geoarchaeologist on the Upward Sun River Site and Quartz Lake-Shaw Creek Multidisciplinary Projects; both projects emphasize understanding changes in human-environment interactions over the last 14,000 years in the middle Tanana Valley in interior Alaska. Josh is also a collaborator on several field- and collection-based research projects focused on sites in the western Alaska Range in southcentral Alaska, the middle Kuskokwim River region in southwestern Alaska, and the arctic regions of northern Alaska.

Ph.D. Anthropology, 2013, University of Arizona
M.A. Anthropology, 2003, University of Alaska Fairbanks
B.A. Anthropology, 2000, University of Alaska Fairbanks

Selected Publications:

Potter, Ben A., and Joshua D. Reuther
2012 High Resolution Radiocarbon Dating at the Gerstle River Site, Central Alaska. American Antiquity 77(1):71-98.

Proue, Molly, Justin M. Hays, Joshua D. Reuther, and Jeffrey T. Rasic
2012 The Hayfield Site: Modern Technology Applied to Materials Collected in the 1950s. Alaska Journal of Anthropology 9(1):97-114.

Wooller, Matthew J., Josh Kurek, Ben Gaglioti, Les Cynwar, Nancy Bigelow, Joshua D. Reuther, Carol Gelvin-Reymiller, and John Smol
2012 An ~11,200 cal yr BP Paleolimnological Record from Quartz Lake, Alaska. Journal of Paleolimnology 48:83-99.

Gelvin-Reymiller, Carol, and Joshua D. Reuther
2011 Bird Bones, Needles, Iron and Stone: Insights into Late Holocene Prehistoric Alaskan Grooving Technology. Alaska Journal of Anthropology 8(1): 1-22.

Potter, Ben A., Joel D. Irish, Joshua D. Reuther, Carol Gelvin-Reymiller, and Vance T. Holliday
2011 A Paleoindian Child Cremation and Residential Structure from Eastern Beringia. Science 311:1058-1062.

Reuther, Joshua D., Natasha Slobodina, Jeff Rasic, John P. Cook, and Robert J. Speakman
2011 Gaining Momentum – Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene Archaeological Obsidian Source Studies in Interior and Northern Eastern Beringia. In From the Yensei to the Yukon: Interpreting Lithic Assemblage Variability in Late Pleistocene/Early Holocene Beringia, edited by Ted Goebel and Ian Buvit, pp. 270-286. Texas A&M Press, College Station.

Slobodina, Natalia S., Joshua D. Reuther, Jeff Rasic, John P. Cook, and Robert J. Speakman
2009 Obsidian Procurement and Use at the Dry Creek Site (HEA-005), Interior Alaska. Current Research in the Pleistocene 26:115-117.

Bowers, Peter M., and Joshua D. Reuther
2008 AMS Re-dating of the Carlo Creek Site, Nenana Valley, Central Alaska. Current Research in the Pleistocene 25:58-61.

Potter, Ben A., Peter M. Bowers, Joshua D. Reuther, and Owen K. Mason
2007 Holocene Assemblage Variability in the Tanana Basin: NLUR Archaeological Research,
1994-2004. Alaska Journal of Anthropology 5(1):23-42.

Gelvin-Reymiller, Carol, Joshua D. Reuther, Ben A. Potter and Peter M. Bowers
2006 Technical Aspects of a Worked Proboscidean Tusk from Inmachuk River, Seward Peninsula, Alaska. Journal of Archaeological Science 33:1088-1094.

Reuther, Joshua D., Jerold M. Lowenstein, S. Craig Gerlach, Darden Hood, Gary Scheuensthul, and Douglas H. Ubelaker
2006 The Use of an Improved pRIA technique in the Identification of Protein Residues. Journal of Archaeological Science 33(4):531-537.

Reuther, Joshua D., and S. Craig Gerlach
2005 Testing the “Dicarb Problem”: A Case Study from North Alaska. Radiocarbon 47(3): 359-366.

Scott Shirar
     Scott at XMK-224 in Katmai National Park.

Archaeology Collection Manager

Scott Shirar has worked in the archaeology department since January of 2008 after spending two years at the museum as a graduate student researcher. Scott’s first position in the department was research archaeologist, but he’s currently the archaeology collection manager. His primary responsibility is to oversee the long-term preservation of artifacts and documentation which includes maintaining the collections database, supervising projects to upgrade and integrate collections, and facilitating research access. Scott also leads two ongoing research projects funded by the National Park Service. One focuses on mid-Holocene volcanism and human occupation on the Central Alaska Peninsula. The second is centered on the late-Holocene human occupation of the Central Western Brooks Range. 

M.A. Anthropology, 2007, University of Alaska Fairbanks
B.S. Anthropology, 1999, Indiana University

Selected Publications:

2018     Barton, Loukas, Scott Shirar, and James W. Jordan. Holocene Human Occupation of the Central Alaska Peninsula. Radiocarbon 60(2):367-382.

2018     Coffman, Sam, Robin O. Mills, and Scott Shirar. Recent Archaeological Survey along the Middle Fork of the Fortymile River, Alaska. Alaska Journal of Anthropology 16(1):95-106.

2017     Linn, Angela J., Joshua D. Reuther, Chris B. Wooley, Scott J. Shirar, and Jason S. Rogers. Museum Cultural Collections: Pathways to the Preservation of Traditional and Scientific Knowledge. Arctic Science 3(3):618-634.

2011     Shirar, Scott. Late Holocene Chronology of the Noatak and Kobuk Rivers. Alaska Journal of Anthropology 9(2):1-16.

2011     Gaines, Edmund P., Kate S. Yeske, William C. Johnson, Scott J. Shirar, and James F. Kunesh. Pleistocene Archaeology of the Tanana Flats, Eastern Beringia. Current Research in the Pleistocene 28:42-44.

2009    Shirar, Scott. Subsistence and Seasonality at a Late Prehistoric House Pit in Northwest Alaska. Journal of Ecological Anthropology 13(1):6-25. 

2007    Odess, Daniel and Scott Shirar. New Evidence of Microblade Technology in the Nenana Complex Type Site at Dry Creek, Central Alaska. Current Research in the Pleistocene 24:129-131.

Selected Presentations:

2018     Emily Palus, Robert King, Josh Reuther, and Scott Shirar. Far from Home: Bringing Archaeological Collection and Tribal Ancestors Home to Alaska. Session and discussion organized for the 2018 American Alliance of Museums Annual Meeting & Museum Expo.

2018     Scott Shirar, Josh Reuther, Holly McKinney, Sam Coffman, Kelly Meierotto, Fawn Carter, Jason Rogers, and Francois Lanoë. Dating and Summation of Seven Holocene Shoreline Sites at Quartz lake, Interior Alaska. Paper presented at th 45th Annual Meeting of the Alaska Anthropological Association

2017     Scott Shirar, Jeff Rasic, and Eric Carlson. Lakeside Villages and Associated Rock Art in Noatak National Preserve. Paper presented at the 44th Annual Meeting of the Alaska Anthropological Association.

2016     Reuther, Joshua, Sam Coffman, Scott Shirar, Fawn Carter, and Phoebe Gilbert. Teaching STEM and Social Science through Archaeology: Interior Alaska Culture Camp Collaborations between the University of Alaska Museum of the North and Denali National Park and Preserve. Poster presented at the Centennial Science and Stewardship Symposium, Fairbanks, Alaska.

2016     Shirar, Scott, Sam Coffman, Loukas Barton, and James W. Jordan. Archaeology in Aniakchak and Katmai National Parks: Recent Collaborations between the University of Alaska Museum of the North and the National Park Service. Poster presented at the Centennial Science and Stewardship Symposium, Fairbanks, Alaska

Current Projects:

Archaeology of Late Prehistoric Lakeside Settlements in Northwest Alaska

Archaeology of the Central Alaska Peninsula

Archaeology of Quartz Lake (coming soon)

Sam Coffman
Sam at EAG-146 in the Fortymile River area (photo by Crystal Glasburn)
      Sam Coffmam at EAG-146 in
      the Fortymile River drainage
      (photo by Crystal Glassburn

Research Archaeologist/GIS Coordinator, RPA

Sam currently serves as the Research Archaeologist and GIS coordinator for the University of Alaska Museum of the North. He has worked for the museum since 2010 and has been involved in numerous field and collection-based projects in Alaska and the Great Basin since 2005. His main research interests include lithic raw material sourcing, coastal adaptation and use during the Holocene, hunter-gatherer landscape-use, and GIS modeling and analysis. He has been involved in a variety of community outreach activities and enjoys promoting the field of anthropology and archaeology.

M.A. Anthropology, 2011, University of Alaska Fairbanks
B.A. Anthropology, 2007, University of Nevada, Reno

Current Projects:

Prehistoric Archaeology of the Fortymile River Drainage

Human-use of Rhyolite in Prehistoric Alaska 

Human Settlement and Cultural Connection on the Upper Alaska Peninsula

Archaeological Survey of West Naknek Lakes (coming soon)

Research Affiliates

Jeff Rasic, Ph.D., National Park Service

Brian Hemphill, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Anthropology

Undergraduate Student Assistants

Dillon McIntire

Collection Assistants

Taylor Vollman
Bryan Johnson


Steve Lanford