Food or Fur: Dog Butchery on Kodiak Island, Alaska


Archaeological evidence suggests that domesticated dogs (Canis familiaris) have been in the Kodiak Archipelago of Alaska for at least 7000 years. Despite their lengthy presence, little is known about their relationship with Kodiak’s human inhabitants. Based on both western assumption and the limited ethnohistoric record for this region, it is commonly assumed that people simply kept dogs as pets. However, previous studies of dog remains from the Uyak site on Kodiak Island note the presence of cut marks on many of the bones. These observations suggest that the role of dogs in the lives of people may be far more complicated than previously assumed. Even more, cut marks suggest that dogs may have been used for their fur or meat. Through systematic analysis of cut marks found on these bones, we demonstrate that some dogs were dismembered and defleshed. Based on these results, we argue that these dogs were likely butchered for meat consumption.

Cite this Record

Food or Fur: Dog Butchery on Kodiak Island, Alaska. Melyssa Huston, Christine Mikeska, Catherine F. West. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429117)


Alaska Butchery Dogs

Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16457