Cultural Remains in Local and Regional Context on the Central Alaska Peninsula: Housepits, Language, and Cultural Affinities at Marraatuq after 1000 B.P.

Patricia L. McClenahan

Abstract

Professor Dumond’s research on the Alaska Peninsula provided information that prior to 1,000 years ago people of both sides of the Alaska Peninsula shared material culture and exhibited subsistence interests that persisted into historic times, During the Late Precontact Era (ca. 1100 A.D. to mid-1700s) these Alutiiq societies shared cultural traits including language, house styles, and material culture with their relatives and neighbors on Kodiak Island. Until recently, few data were available regarding potential variability in house construction techniques, or styles and functions of Alutiiq semisubterranean houses of this era found on the Alaska Peninsula, This paper provides examples of a few known prehistoric and historic Alaska Peninsula and Kodiak Alutiiq houses and presents previously unreported data from archaeological tests at Marraatuq on the Central Alaska Peninsula, Taken together with Dumond’s 1998–1999 field work at Leader Creek and archaeological research on Kodiak Island, the work provides further evidence that interregional interaction was strong during the Late Precontact Era. However, large population centers and ranked political hierarchies probably were not hallmarks of central Alaska Peninsula communities during the Late Precontact Era and historic times as they were on the Kodiak and Aleutian islands.

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