An Analysis of Archaeofauna Recovered from a Russian Period Camp on St. Paul Island, Pribilof Islands, Alaska

Kelly A. Eldridge


This paper examines the history of the early Russian-American settlement of Zapadni (XPI-007) on St. Paul Island in the Pribilofs. An analysis of faunal remains recovered from the site during archaeological work done in association with The St. Paul History and Archaeology Project, led by Douglas Veltre and Allen McCartney in 2000 and 2001, supplements oral and written historical records. These well-preserved archaeofauna provide insight into the ethnic identity of the Unangax̂ laborers who harvested northern fur seals (Callorhinus ursinus) near the site between AD 1787 and the early 1800s and a glimpse at the beginning of the creolization that affected both Unangax̂ and Russian individuals. Although a small number of domesticated specimens were identified, the Zapadni faunal assemblage demonstrates the maintenance of traditional Unangax̂ foodways during a time of intense colonialism and shows the overwhelming importance of northern fur seal pups as a subsistence resource.

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