**Watch this space for fieldwork and lab opportunities for 2021**

 

Overview

The University of Aberdeen Department of Archaeology is partnering with the village corporation Qanirtuuq, Inc. and the Yup’ik village of Quinhagak on a large scale archaeological project. Archaeological sites, as well as the modern infrastructure in the region, are threatened by melting permafrost and rising sea levels along the Bering Sea. Our work focuses on the Nunalleq site, a 14th-18th century pre-contact Yup’ik village with exceptionally well-preserved organic remains. Since 2018, we have been processing finds in a Quinhagak-based lab in the newly opened Nunalleq Culture and Archaeology Center.

Each year, we welcome applications from all interested people for a place on the excavation or in the lab. You can apply either as a field school student or a volunteer. You will gain field experience in the Alaskan bush and be part of an exciting research project, working in close partnership with the Yup’ik descendant community to save their threatened heritage.

You can find out more about the
Project by reading the Nunalleq blog.
Background

Nunalleq is the name of an archaeological site in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta region of Southwestern Alaska. Nunalleq, meaning the ‘Old Village’ in Yup’ik was given its name by Village Elders.

The University of Aberdeen Department of Archaeology is partnering with the village corporation Qanirtuuq, Inc. and the Yup’ik village of Quinhagak on this large scale archaeological project. The site has been researched since 2009, and previous years’ excavation has revealed a multi-period pre-contact village dating between 14th and 18th century. Due to permafrost the level of preservation is extraordinary, and the archaeological collection after five seasons of excavation are now one of the largest ever recovered from Alaska.

The goals of this project are to:

  • Generate new information about the pre-contact history and culture of the Yup’ik people by recovering artefacts and other materials from actively eroding archaeological sites.
  • Evaluate the impact of rising sea levels on the cultural resources in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta and develop locally based expertise and facilities to address those impacts.
  • Create new educational and economic opportunities for the people of Quinhagak and surrounding region.
  • Provide training and experience in community-based archaeological research for a new generation of scientists, land managers and community leaders.
  • Produce data about human adaptations to past climate change that will be relevant for local decision makers dealing with the effects of global warming.
  • Develop a local archaeological repository, cultural centre and museum where the archaeological material will be housed.

 

Team

Project Leader

Dr. Rick Knecht

Senior Lecturer in Archaeology, University of Aberdeen

 

Project Oversight

Warren Jones

General Manager, Qanirtuuq Inc., Alaska

 

Site/Field School Director

Dr. Charlotta Hillerdal

Lecturer in Archaeology, University of Aberdeen

 

Project Scientific Coordinator

Dr. Kate Britton

Senior Lecturer in Archaeological Science, University of Aberdeen