Pioneer and Contemporary: Frederica de Laguna’s Contributions to the Anthropology of Southcentral Alaska

William B. Workman


During the years from 1930 to 1933 Frederica de Laguna undertook 26 months of anthropological research in Cook Inlet and Prince William Sound, resulting in the publication of two major archaeological monographs and (with Birket-Smith) an ethnographic monograph on the Eyak of the Copper River Delta. After 1933 her attention shifted to other parts of southern Alaska, although she worked extensively with the Ahtna of the Copper River region (1958–1968) and returned for a month to Kachemak Bay in 1978. Although reflecting only a part of her remarkable career, this work remains of fundamental importance in regional prehistory, making major contributions to the ethnography of the Chugach, Ahtna, Eyak, and Dena’ina. The importance of the southcentral Alaskan work of this great scholar will be evaluated, supplemented with limited unpublished information acquired through sporadic contacts with her over a period of 36 years.

  • William B. Workman, Department of Anthropology University of Alaska Anchorage, 3211 Providence Drive, Anchorage, Alaska 99508

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