Chemical characterization of Arctic soils: Activity area analysis in contemporary Yup'ik fish camps using ICP-AES

Kelly J. Knudson, Lisa Frink, Brian W. Hoffman, T. Douglas Price

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

71 Scopus citations

Abstract

Despite the vital role of seasonal fish camps in hunter-gatherer subsistence activities in the Arctic, little archaeological or ethnographic research on fish camps has been conducted. This ethnoarchaeological study uses the chemical composition of soil samples collected at two modern fish camps in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta of western Alaska to elucidate chemical soil signatures associated with seasonal subsistence fish camps and the activities performed there. Concentrations of Al, Ba, Ca, Fe, K, Mg, Mn, P, Sr, Ti, and Zn were determined using an inductively coupled plasma-atomic emission spectrometer (ICP-AES). Both camps showed distinct anthropogenic soil signatures, even though one camp had a 30-year occupation history and one camp had only been occupied for 1 year. In addition, some activity areas within the camps have distinct anthropogenic signatures. In the future, this research can be used to identify ephemeral camps and their activities in the archaeological record.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)443-456
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science
Volume31
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2004
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Ethnoarchaeology
  • ICP-AES
  • Seasonal camps
  • Soil analysis
  • Western Alaska

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology

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