Coal Creek gold dredge, Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve. NPS photo.

John Cook Travel Scholarship [NEW, starting for the annual meeting in 2020]

John P. Cook was born in Paris, France January 17, 1938 and moved to the US just before WWII. He studied at Dartmouth College after high school.  There, he was quite literally pointed north by his professors Robert McKennan and Elmer Harp.  John graduated in 1959 and was immediately inducted into the US Air Force, assigned to Ladd Field near Fairbanks, and stationed at Unalakleet Air Force Station. Following military service, John’s professional career blossomed.

From 1962 until 1966, with fieldwork in Newfoundland, Yukon Territory, and Onion Portage, Alaska, John earned a Masters degree at Brown University and began work on his Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin.   For his dissertation project, Prof. McKennan suggested that John investigate the pre-history of Healy Lake, Alaska, a location that had been utilized by prehistoric peoples for thousands of years. In 1969, John’s first reports of the age of the earliest use of the area, 13,000 years, were greeted with strong skepticism.   However subsequent research by other investigators at other locations in interior Alaska has proved John to be correct revising the pre-history of Alaska.

In 1968 John began work at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. In the early 1970’s John co-founded the Alaska Anthropological Association. His knowledge and thoughtfulness were useful to other organizations he served, among them the Alaska State Historical Commission, Fairbanks’ Borough Commission for Historic Preservation, Canadian Archeological Association, Alaska Quaternary Center, and the Society for American Archeology.  In mid-1978, with a National Science Foundation grant, John pioneered the use of x-ray fluorescence and instrumental neutron activation analysis testing the possibility of determining pre-historic trade routes by analyzing and “fingerprinting” obsidian found in archeological sites.

John went to work at the Bureau of Land Management in 1980.  Over the next nearly two decades, he dealt with investigation and management of cultural resources – historic and pre-historic, in the 40 Mile country, the Trans-Alaska pipeline corridor, and Interior Alaska lands controlled by the US Army and Air Force. John was an advocate for making science appealing and available to anyone who was interested.

The Alaska Anthropological Association invites undergraduate and graduate students in anthropology or a related discipline to apply for the annual John P. Cook Travel Scholarship. The $500 scholarship is designed to assist eligible students attend the Annual Meeting of the Alaska Anthropological Association. Applications are due December 31st, 2019. Award announcements will be sent to applicants by January 15th, 2020.

Download Application

  1. John P. Cook Travel Scholarship 2020 (116.6 KB)