Organic Residues from Durable Vessels in Prehistoric Southwest Alaska

Author(s): Marjolein Admiraal

Year: 2017


Prehistoric people of coastal southwest Alaska used clay and stone vessel technologies for the past 3,000 years. Despite the challenges that the cold and humid subarctic climate posed to the procurement of clay and the drying and firing of pottery, people invested their valuable time and energy in the manufacture and maintenance of these durable vessels. Why? What role did container technologies play in the wider process of food procurement and processing? An increased focus on marine resources seems to have led to the emergence and spread of pottery in Alaska. Vessels may have been used for the rendering of marine mammal fats into oil to be uses as fuel. To test this hypothesis lipids, isotopes, and proteins from food residues of about 100 vessels from 32 archaeological sites in the Aleutian Islands, Alaska Peninsula and Kodiak Archipelago have been analysed at the BioArCh laboratory of the University of York, UK. Establishing the contents of the vessels provides direct evidence for vessel function and contributes to the greater understanding of food technologies in prehistoric Alaska.

Cite this Record

Organic Residues from Durable Vessels in Prehistoric Southwest Alaska. Marjolein Admiraal. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430415)

Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15264