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What can archaeobotanical remains from exceptionally well preserved contexts tell us about past arctic life-ways?

Author(s): Veronique Forbes ; Paul Ledger

Year: 2015

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Anthropological studies of western Alaska consistently remark upon the substantial knowledge of the regional flora by local Eskimo groups. Despite the attritional impact of Western lifestyles on traditional ecological knowledge, the indigenous peoples of the region maintain a rich appreciation of the plant resources available in their local environment. Yet, archaeobotanical analyses from the region remain scarce and there rests a general opinion that plants did not play an important role in past Eskimo subsistence. Faunal analyses and isotopic studies which indicate a predominately marine diet entrench this assumption, but they do not present the whole picture. Ethnography demonstrates that plants were not only integral to Eskimo diets, but they also served ceremonial and utilitarian functions. Using the exceptionally well-preserved botanical macro-remains from 14th to 17th century sod structures at Nunalleq in southwestern Alaska, this paper aims to establish the role of plants in past Arctic life-ways.

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What can archaeobotanical remains from exceptionally well preserved contexts tell us about past arctic life-ways?. Paul Ledger, Veronique Forbes. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395824)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -169.717; min lat: 42.553 ; max long: -122.607; max lat: 71.301 ;

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America