Kozloff scholar explores Alaskan wilderness
Gessica Barry, a junior anthropology and Jessica S. and Stephen R. Kozloff Scholarship recipient, spent a month in the remote Alaskan wilderness studying with the Adelphia University archaeology field school. There, she investigated Native Alaskan economic transitions using some of the most advanced technologies currently used in the field.
The project took place in the Susitna River Valley near Talkeetna in southern Alaska, roughly 50 miles north of Anchorage. Barry and her group investigated the economic transition of ancient Native Alaskans from a mobile big game hunting society to the more diverse economic systems that were based on seasonal salmon runs. The goal was to determine if the economic shift evolved out of the previous system due to environmental reasons or was brought over by a later migration of people from Asia.
According to Barry, the group excavated several sites that ranged from 5,000 to 10,000 years old. The field school, which also continued her previous research that led her to a Kozloff scholarship, enabled her to further her knowledge of field methods and technologies within archaeology. In addition to the intense GPS and GIS instruction, Barry said the Alaskan experience will greatly help her future by being able to show her potential employers she is able to handle adverse field conditions.
“Some of the most interesting archaeological sites in the world are located in remote locations,” Barry says. “The archaeologists who have the privilege to work on them have to handle camping for extended periods of time, no electricity or running water, animals, insects, and bad weather. In Alaska I lived under these conditions and learned to adapt.
“Completing this fields school proved I am able to adapt to adverse conditions in the field and will open up doors to work on some of the most remote and fascinating sites in the world.”