The Status of Archaeology and Archaeological Practice in Southeast Alaska in Relation to the Larger Northwest Coast

Madonna L. Moss

Abstract

Southeast Alaska is bounded by British Columbia and Yukon Territory, and most of the region is Tlingit territory. Haida, Tsimshian, and Athapaskans have all played roles in the region’s long-term history. Contemporary political boundaries structure current archaeological work because the United States and Canada have different academic traditions, heritage laws, land management practices, research funding agencies, and publication outlets. To what extent do researchers in the U.S. pay attention to archaeological work on the “other” side of the border? How has the practice of archaeology in southeast Alaska evolved over time, and how well have we engaged with issues of concern to our Canadian colleagues? Allen McCartney is one of the few researchers who has worked extensively in both the U.S. and Canada, and his publications consistently cut across the artifice of national boundaries. In this paper, I explore how we have come to know what we think we know of southeast Alaska’s archaeological record. I also survey how we have studied the “big questions” of prehistory in relation to archaeological work within the larger Northwest Coast region.

  • Madonna L. Moss, Department of Anthropology, 1218 University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon 97403-1218

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