Archaeologist screening sediments at the Tuluaq Hill site in Noatak National Preserve. NPS photo.

Archaeology Month

Alaska Archaeology Month
April is Archaeology Month in Alaska, a time to reflect on Alaska’s rich and exceptionally long-lived cultural traditions that we understand, in part, through archaeological research. It’s also an opportunity to raise awareness about preservation of the archaeological record, a non-renewable resource relentlessly subjected to a range of threats. Learn more about Alaska’s past at a series of events–public talks, exhibits, hands-on activities–happening across the state. And watch for the latest installment of the Alaska Archaeology Month poster coming to to schools schools, libraries, and museums throughout Alaska. (More info.)
Though wood resources across Alaska’s ecosystems varied-and much was treeless during the Ice Age and for millennia after, even to today-cultures found a way to get this versatile raw material, even if it was collecting what drifted in on the ocean. Then they used it to shape the objects that touched every aspect of their lives, from everyday activities like eating to special rituals and sacred moments like masked dancing and drumming and honoring ancestors. In the southeast, where cedars towered, totem poles and large wood plank lodges were possible. In the far north, where only shrubby willow and dwarf birch could survive, and along the treeless Aleutian archipelago, even smaller objects like spear shafts sometimes had to be stitched together from fragments of wood.

Events (2019)

Great Discoveries in Alaskan Archaeology

April 20, 2:00-4:30 p.m.

A public lecture in the form of a series of lightning talks by Fairbanks archaeologists sharing stories of their favorite finds.

Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center, Fairbanks, AK.


The 20th Annual Alaska Atlatl (Spearthrower) Fun Throw and Competition

May 4th, noon until 4 p.m.

Alaska Native Heritage Center, Anchorage, AK

Events include distance and accuracy throws, throwing from kayak at a seal target, and throwing at Pleistocene animal targets. Come bag yourself a mammoth!  This is a free event, open to all 8 years old and up. For information call Richard VanderHoek at (907) 947-4868

For an ADN article on the 2017 event, see