Public Archaeology at Cottonwood Creek


In Southcentral Alaska, Matanuska-Susitna Borough is among the Nation's most rapidly growing regions. At the cost of losing indigenous archaeological settlements, subdivision activities have mushroomed in response to increased population. Collaboration with the Knik Native Dena'ina Tribe is tantamount to saving numerous proto-historic settlements where inland rivers confluence with Knik Arm in Upper Cook Inlet. Working with the State and Knikatnu Tribal Corporation who own sites adjacent to Cottonwood Creek above Knik Arm, the borough is listing them in the National Register of Historic Places as an archaeological district. Long abandoned, the sites hold a key to ancestral living patterns for today's Native Dena'ina community. Archaeological surveys of the district resulted in discovering 14 semi-subterranean houses and 333 cache features. Members of Knik Tribe have been integral in locating, describing, and interpreting cultural features in addition to sharing information on their ancestral life-styles with school groups. The district designation will enhance current outreach educational plans the Knik Tribe is developing for youth and adults such as, participation in excavations; conducting ceremonies; demonstrating fish harvesting and native plant use; and erecting interpretive signs etc. This presentation provides an overview of the collaboration between archaeologists and a Native Alaskan community.

SAA 2015 abstracts made available in tDAR courtesy of the Society for American Archaeology and Center for Digital Antiquity Collaborative Program to improve digital data in archaeology. If you are the author of this presentation you may upload your paper, poster, presentation, or associated data (up to 3 files/30MB) for free. Please visit for instructions and more information.

Cite this Record

Public Archaeology at Cottonwood Creek. Fran Seager-Boss, Alfred Theodore, Kathryn Krasinski, Brian Wygal, Richard Martin. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396309)