Zooarchaeological Analysis at ADK-011, Adak Island, Central Aleutian Islands, Alaska

Christine Lefèvre, Dixie West and Debra G. Corbett

Abstract

Although William Dall explored the Central Aleutians nearly 140 years ago, surprisingly little archaeological research has occurred in this area since then. During 1999 the Western Aleutians Archaeological and Paleobiological Project excavated archaeological sites on north Adak Island, Alaska. Faunal remains from two excavation pits at ADK-011 are analyzed here. This is the first analysis of faunal remains from this particular island. Our research reveals that late prehistoric Aleuts depended on marine mammals, birds, fish, and invertebrates. Although whale remains were recovered, it is currently impossible to tell if these represent hunted or stranded animals. Birds were hunted for their valuable bones as well as for their meat. Aleuts captured both pelagic and near-shore fish. Invertebrate remains indicate that prehistoric Aleuts depended on nearby high energy reefs as well as the calmer waters of Clam Lagoon for subsistence. Additionally, the marine reservoir effect must be considered when understanding radiocarbon dates from Aleutian archaeological sites.

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