Grass, Environmental Change, Farming & Human Ecodynamics

Grass probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about the foundations of Icelandic culture and society. But the humble blade of grass has played an incredibly important role in Iceland since the early days of settlement.

Economic Inequality & Environmental Change in Medieval Iceland

During the middle ages, Iceland’s recently settled landscape saw many changes. Kathryn Catlin, a doctoral candidate at Northwestern University’s Anthropology Department, is digging in Iceland’s soil for clues to the impacts of these changes.

Digging for clues: The wreck of the NEVA

“Lands beneath the bow!” The shouted warning wakes the captain of the Russian frigate, NEVA, from his afternoon nap as the ship runs aground in narrow, cliff-bounded Sitka Sound.

Tradition & Science: The Yakutat Seal Camps Project

Tradition & Science: The Yakutat Seal Camps Project

Dr. Aron Crowell, Alaska Director of the Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center, is contributing to the debate with his own anthropological findings from a research project in Alaska that’s searching for (and finding) archaeological sites using oral history as a guide.

Ancient Adaptation & Climate Change in the Aleutian Islands

The Islands of the Four Mountains in Alaska’s central Aleutians are about as inhospitable an environment as a person can imagine. Bad weather reigns, the wind and rain conspiring to create the perfect conditions for hypothermia.

Documentary Explores Ancient Tlingit Rock Formations

Parts of south Alaska’s inland, alpine landscape are dotted with mounds of artificially stacked rocks that are closely tied to Tlingit culture. These structures, known as rock cairns, are the focus of Cairns Uncovered, a soon-to-be-released documentary.

Reconstructing Yakutat Bay’s Cultural Landscape

Yakutat Bay in southern Alaska has long been a melting pot for many Native groups who established villages and seal hunting camps along its shores. Today, Yakutat is still a multi-cultural area of Alaska whose residents are eager to help scientists reconstruct the region’s past.

Dig reveals 1,500-year-old midden near Barrow, AK

Archaeologist Anne Jensen, a lead scientist at Ukpeagvik Inupiat Corporation (UIC) near Barrow, AK., is used to racing the elements in her short work season. In 2009, we reported on her Nuvuk Archaeology Project, and we’ve been following her activities from afar.

Tracking ancient commerce in Alaska

For millennia, civilizations have been at the mercy of their trading counterparts, thriving or dwindling based on the availability of resources. This is especially true in the Arctic, where Brown University professor Doug Anderson has been studying trade relations in Northwest Alaska.

Bringing Math to Life in the Indigenous Classroom

From the complex to the simple, so many of the daily, tradition-based activities of the Yup’ik are accomplished through the use and knowledge of symmetry. This unusual connection is the focus of a National Science Foundation-supported project to study traditional everyday activities.

Polar Careers: James Dixon, Archaeologist

James Dixon is a man who wears many hats. Dixon is the Director of the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology in Albuquerque, New Mexico where he provides overall direction and leadership for the 80-year-old institution. He’s also a professor of anthropology at the University of New Mexico.