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Coastal Erosion Threatens Alaska’s Archaeology

Monday, March 17, 2014


KOTZEBUE, ALASKA—Erosion caused by rising sea levels, frequent storms, flooding, and thawing permafrost has damaged archaeological sites in the Western Arctic National Parklands, including The Bering Land Bridge National Preserve and the Cape Krusenstern National Monument. “These sites are important because they tell the story of people who lived and adapted from up to 5,500 years ago to the present and continue to add to the record,” Michael Holt, chief of cultural resources for the Western Arctic National Parklands, told The Arctic Sounder. The sites at greatest risk of disappearing are being excavated in partnership with Portland State University. Food remains, sled runners, and tools, have been recovered. The joint project endeavors to record the sites before they disappear.