Nunalleq: Archaeologies of Climate Change and Community in Coastal Western Alaska


Northern sea ice levels are at an historical and millennial low, and nowhere are the effects of recent climate change more pronounced or destructive than in the Western Arctic, with the erosion and subsequent loss of coastal archaeological sites in this area being yet another casualty. Based in the community of Quinhagak, and at the well-preserved precontact Yup’ik site of Nunalleq, our project examines the complex relationship between past cultures and ecosystem change, and the interplay between modern climate change, archaeology and heritage. Organic and inorganic artefacts and bioarchaeological material from Nunalleq are now feeding diverse but complementary interdisciplinary studies of diet, population genetics, zooarchaeology, paleoentomology, climate change and culture history in the region. Using the processes, as well as the products of archaeological research, our community-based project is illuminating the impact of the Little Ice Age on precontact Yup’ik in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta; building sustainable frameworks for documenting local sites under threat; and providing new contexts for encountering and documenting the past.

Cite this Record

Nunalleq: Archaeologies of Climate Change and Community in Coastal Western Alaska. Charlotta Hillerdal, Kate Britton, Warren Jones, Rick Knecht. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429114)

Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15381