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Human and Environmental Histories of the Rat Islands, Western Aleutians, Alaska: The 2014-2015 Research Season

Author(s): Nancy Bigelow ; Caroline Funk ; Brian Hoffman ; Debra Corbett ; Nicole Misarti

Year: 2015

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Summary

Our multidisciplinary research team is beginning to model the role of humans in shaping the characteristics of existing southern Bering Sea and North Pacific terrestrial and marine ecologies in the Western Aleutians. During this past research season, we defined new cultural loci, acquired on and off-site pollen/tephra cores, and surveyed the coastal zone on areas of Kiska, Segula, and Little Sitkin Islands. The cultural occupations span Aleut prehistory and the World War II Japanese occupation. They include several large Aleut villages, a previously undefined type of Aleut mound feature, and previously unknown Japanese military construction. Coastal biological sampling paired with isotopic studies of modern and archaeological fauna are providing initial data for a regional, long-term marine food-web model. Pollen cores are allowing us to define volcanic activities, examine local climate trends, and test for Aleut manipulation of local landscapes. Our research is changing commonly held perceptions of human impacts on what have traditionally been considered "pristine" natural land- and seascapes.

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Human and Environmental Histories of the Rat Islands, Western Aleutians, Alaska: The 2014-2015 Research Season. Caroline Funk, Nancy Bigelow, Debra Corbett, Brian Hoffman, Nicole Misarti. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397440)


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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