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ALANA: Arctic Landscape Archaeology in Northern Alaska

Noah Steuri


Universität Bern

Lay summary

The ALANA project, part of the Humanities in Arctic Research platform of the University of Bern, aims to understand human-environment interactions in the Arctic across prehistory, leveraging archaeological data, satellite imagery, and interdisciplinary methodologies. Collaborating with the Alaska Museum of the North, University of Alaska Fairbanks and the Bureau of land Management Alaska, the project will conduct a remote sensing and on-ground survey in the Toolik and Galbraith Lake region in the Noth Slope Borough (Alaska, USA). 

Arctic archaeology has largely focused on coastal areas and the interaction between marine ecosystems and past human populations. Comparatively little is known about inland subsistence systems and their resilience and adaptability with regard to past climatic fluctuations. We have gained access to an area that is especially important for studying early anthropogenic activity in the Alaskan Arctic. We aim at documenting the archaeological landscape by means of remote sensing and pedestrian survey and correlating it with the existing climate data record using radiocarbon dating as well as potentially archaeobotanical- and faunal analysis. In addition, we aim to incorporate indigenous insights from the local Nunamiut community at Anaktuvuk Pass. This will allow us to bring archaeological data in conversation with the paleoclimatic record and indigenous knowledge and see shifts in seasonal settlement patterns across several millennia.


Regional focus Arctic
Location Toolik Region, Northern Alaska (USA)
Funded amount 19,700 CHF
Project dates 1st June 2024 – 31st December 2024
Category Polar Access Fund
remote sensing, Landscape archaeology, Northern Alaska, inland subsistence systems , settlement patterns