Time Sleuths - Archaeology in Interior Alaska

Dates: July 23 - August 3, 2018
Cost: $700.00

Humans have lived and interacted with both living and extinct animals in Alaska for the past 14,000 years! We are surrounded by many traces of human presence on the landscape, with fascinating archaeological sites that few people think about, let alone know about. This July, ASRA students will accompany a team of archaeologists on excavations of an archaeological site at Quartz Lake. There you will use excavation tools such as trowels, total station, GPS technology, and field computers to document your finds! 
This module will immerse students in the world of professional archaeology through field and lab based activities, with the intention of introducing them to potential career paths in archaeology and museum studies. Investigations will focus on a 6,000-year old site around Quartz Lake. Sites surrounding Quartz Lake date back to 13,000 years ago, but we know little about how the environment has changed and how humans adapted to this change over the last 6,000 years! This site will give us a window to that time period. 
This module will involve a 7-day field expedition to Quartz Lake (~86 miles southeast of Fairbanks). Students will travel by van and camp near the archaeological site during the duration of the excavations. Excavations will be carried out at the site with visits and field trips to the surrounding area. After fieldwork the team will work at the Archaeology Laboratory at the University of Alaska Museum of the North. There, we will employ a range of scientific methods to decipher clues from artifacts, animal bones, soils, and plant remains collected during excavation to understand the various activities occurring at the site, environment, and how humans lived there in the past. Students will also learn how museum professionals preserve and store artifacts and samples so that they are available for future research. Come and join the investigation and help make new discoveries!

*Module Settings/Conditions* 
This is a semi-remote module and perfect for those who love the outdoors! Base Camp will consist of tents (bring your own tent and sleeping bag). A cabin will serve as our mess hall, hangout, and logistical base. All food will be provided in this module during the 7 day field expedition. As a part of the field experience, students will be expected to participate in some of camp duties, such as helping with cooking and dishes. There will be electricity.


Apply hereLink only works during application period, February 1 through April 15

Meet the Instructors

Josh Reuther, Assistant Professor & Curator of Archaeology, Museum of the North, University of Alaska Fairbanks

I have been around archaeology since I was 13. My father lived near archaeology sites in central Arizona and we visited them quite a bit to talk with the archaeologists excavating and the community members and park rangers that helped to preserve them. I have always been interested in how people live in extreme environments, and interior Alaska and central Arizona are pretty extreme. When I began in college at UAF, studying anthropology drew me in because of its focus on human behavior – archaeology just happens to be the part of anthropology that focuses on the ancient past. Through the years, I have been lucky enough to work and share my interests in archaeology, and this will be my 5th year with ARSA, which is always the highlight of my summers.

 Scott Shirar, Archaeology Collection Manager, Museum of the North, University of Alaska Fairbanks

My first experience with archaeology was when I enrolled in the archaeological field school during the summer session after my freshman year at Indiana University. During that field school we spent four weeks excavating a thousand-year-old abandoned village site, which is now a farmer’s cornfield in south-central Indiana. After my first day in the field I was hooked on archaeology, where you never know what the next trowel stroke will uncover. I look forward to my sixth year participating in the ASRA program and to teaching students how archaeology is carried out in the field and in the laboratory to learn about past human culture 
I earned my Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology at Indiana University and my Master of Arts in Anthropology at UAF. 

 Fawn Carter, Registrar & Assistant Archaeology Collection Manager, Museum of the North, University of Alaska Fairbanks

Archaeology combines some of my favorite activities such as being outdoors, studying prehistory, lab analysis, and playing in the dirt. The idea of finding artifacts that are thousands of years old and using them to reconstruct past cultures and lifestyles is remarkable and has always appealed to me. This will be my fourth year with ASRA and I can’t wait to inspire and teach the next generation of archaeologists.
I earned both my Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees in Anthropology at UAF.

Sam Coffman, Research Archaeologist & GIS Coordinator, Museum of the North, University of Alaska Fairbanks

My research interests include the prehistory of Alaska, hunter-gatherer landscape-use/adaptation, the integrating of computers and mapping software into archaeology, and lithic analysis. Archaeology is a rewarding field, offering you a chance to explore and travel to new places while continuing in the quest to understand past human lifeways. This will be my seventh year being involved in ASRA, and honestly can’t wait! The 2018 ASRA project will be a great opportunity for all those involved. We’re expecting to find a very interesting artifact assemblage, so come and be a part of the discovery! 
I earned my MA in Anthropology from UAF and my BA from the University of Nevada, Reno. 

Bree Doering, PhD candidate, University of Michigan

Growing up in Fairbanks, I wondered at the people who lived in this beautiful but extreme place before me. How did they travel without cars? How did they stay warm without polar fleece? What did they eat? I became more interested in archaeology when I went to college, and truly fell in love during my first excavation at Gerstle River, Alaska. After excavating in Mexico, Australia, Georgia, Madagascar, and Egypt, I came home for my dissertation research because I’m still fascinated by many of the same questions I had growing up. Now, as a PhD student, I have the scientific tools and experience to answer them. If you also want to learn about the strategies people used to survive and thrive in the far north, please join us at Quartz Lake!
While this is my first time serving as an ASRA instructor, I participated in ASRA three times in high school. I graduated from West Valley, earned my Bachelor’s degree at Barnard College in New York, received my Masters from the University of Michigan, and am currently a PhD candidate at the University of Michigan.


Back to Top