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32nd Annual Arctic Workshop Abstracts
March 14-16, 2002
INSTAAR, University of Colorado at Boulder

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UIVVAQ: CLIMATE, POLITICS, AND THULE ORIGINS IN NORTHWEST ALASKA

AUTHORS

HOFFECKER, JOHN F. INSTAAR.
Elias, Scott A. INSTAAR/University of London.
Reynolds, Georgeanne L. US Army Corps of Engineers.
Mason, Owen K. University of Alaska.
Hanson, Diane K. US Army Corps of Engineers.
Leeper, Karlene . US Air Force.

Interdisciplinary study of Uivvaq (Located at Cape Lisburne on the coast of the Chukchi Sea) began in 2000 and is designed to develop a high-resolution chronology for culture and climate change in northwest Alaska during the late Holocene. This chronology will be used to address the problem of Thule origins, which may be related to both climate and political conflict in the region. Uivvaq was occupied by families with ties to Tikigaq prior to AD 1950, members of whom are providing an oral history of the site. A trench excavated into the second deepest midden revealed a stratified sequence of occupations dating to the past 1500 years (based on AMS dating of insect fragments). Both Birnirk and Thule appear to be represented by diagnostic artifact types. The lower occupations overlap temporally with the large Ipiutak settlement at Point Hope (less than 50 km to the southwest), but suggest no influences from the latter. Seal and walrus dominate the large mammal remains and probably reflect winter habitation. Local paleotemperature estimates (Based on analysis of fossil beetles recovered from the midden deposits) indicate several warm and cool oscillations during the past 1500 years.

 

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