Nunalleq: Archaeology, Climate Change, and Community Engagement in a Yup’ik Village

Charlotta Hillerdal, Rick Knecht and Warren Jones

Abstract

In this paper, we present an overview of the most recent results of the ongoing research on the Nunalleq site in Southwestern Alaska, a late pre-contact Yupik settlement. This endeavor is a long-term project that has taken place in the context of the threat that the combined effects of climate change poses to archaeological heritage in the sub-Arctic. Recent climate-change research highlights local involvement and monitoring as the way forward, and here we see the clear intersection with community-based archaeology. From its initiation by the descendant Yup’ik village of Quinhagak, the Nunalleq Project has been conducted as a community-based project, and the local engagement with archaeology has continued to increase. We identify community archaeology as crucial to the future of Alaska archaeology, and the only feasible way to monitor and preserve archaeological resources now threatened by climate change.

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