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Cape Espenberg: Early Inupiat Settlement on the Northern Seward Peninsula (Alaska)

A muli-year (2009-2011) inter-disciplinary research project was undertaken at Cape Espenberg with funding from the National Science Foundation.  The focus of the project was early Inupiat settlement on beach ridges and dune complexes that formed between roughly 1000 and 500 years ago.  Former houses were excavated on Ridges E-6, E-5, and E-4 and the surface features on all of the ridges occupied by Inupiat families at the cape were mapped.  Information on the local climate history was collected from sediment cores and excavated profiles on the ridges and swales between the ridges. Students from local villages in the region participated in the project through the Mentorship Program of the National Park Service.  

Excavation of house feature (#12) on Ridge E-6 in July 2011 (photo by J.F. Hoffecker).Excavation of house (#87) on Ridge E-5 by M. Friesen (photo by J.F. Hoffecker July 2011).Excavation of house feature (#33) on Ridge E-4 by F. Dussault in July 2010 (photo by J.F. Hoffecker).Beach ridges at Cape Espenberg (photo by O.K. Mason 13 July 2010).Ivory harpoon head (Thule 2) recovered from house feature #21 in July 2010 (photo by O.K. Mason).O.K. Mason records stratigraphy of Ridge E-5 beach sands (photo by J.F. Hoffecker July 2011).Shishmaref Elders visit 21 July 2010 (photo by J.F. Hoffecker).Excavation of house feature #21 on Ridge E-6 by J. Foin July 2010 (photo by J.F. Hoffecker).N.H. Bigelow coring swale deposits in August 2010 (photo by J.F. Hoffecker).Excavation of house feature #68 on Ridge E-5 by C.M. Darwent in July 2010 (photo by J.F. Hoffecker).A. Tremayne tests site on the Denbigh Ridge in July 2011 (photo by J.F. Hoffecker).

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