I had just completed my sophomore year of college, and under the direction of Richard Jordan, I enthusiastically joined sev eral other students in the Kodiak Archaeology Projects New Karluk excavation.
The Evolution of Complex Hunter-Gatherers : Archaeological Evidence from the North Pacific
I had participated in my father's archaeological research in Eastern Canada since early childhood, but the Karluk dig was unlike any archaeology I had experienced before. For three months, we peeled back layers of grass, wood, and earth floors separated by remnants of ancient sod roofs.
Due to the unusual preservation and richness of the site, at every tum we uncovered perishable items such as bent-wood bowls, masks, dolls, puffin-beak rattles, grass baskets, fragments of fiber netting, locks of hair, and food waste. Preservation was so excellent, in fact, that we often exposed grass blades still green after hundreds of years, which once exposed to air would tum brown before our eyes.
The Kodiak Environment. This problem is examined using theory developed in evolutionary ecology, cultural ecology, and social action theory. A model is developed to account for the evolution of non-egalitarian hunter-gatherers that focuses on the interplay between environmental risk management, demography, and social competition.
This model is then evaluated with a case study from the Sitkalidak Island region of Southeast Kodiak. These include small camps and special activity sites from all ages and large villages and defensive sites from the later prehistoric period, and indicate changing economic, social, political, and demographic circumstances during almost years. Twenty-nine radiocarbon dates suggest a gap in the archaeological sequence of this region from approximately to years ago.
This gap is unparalleled in other areas of Kodiak, although sites of this period are uncommon. In addition, survey data site elevations and locations are used to evaluate a geomorphological model of tectonic uplift for this portion of Kodiak. The data show that Sitkalidak had an emerging coastline for most of the Holocene.
Beyond the survey findings, four test excavations are described. It contains one of the best lithic assemblages yet documented for the early Ocean Bay I phase on Kodiak. These sites help fill in details of the material and social conditions of Sitkalidak residents throughout prehistory and into the Russian phase.