Reading through Dr. Anne Jensen’s blog makes it clear that archaeology in Alaska faces its own unique challenges. Polar bears wander the same beaches that provide access to sites, earthquakes can happen while giving a talk to the public, and work can be interrupted to help with whale butchery! With such unusual circumstances, is the archaeological payoff really worth it?
Looking at the work and photographs Dr. Jensen has on her blog, the answer seems to be a resounding yes! Through a variety of excavations Dr. Jensen and her team have been able to recover delicate ivory harpoons, wooden posts, and even the remains of a 4-6 year old child buried in a parka.
Dr. Jensen’s work isn’t just about finding well-preserved materials. Her work has important implications for our understanding of climate change, as well as how humans adapt to a variety of environments. She’s also very active in community engagement and public outreach. Her archaeological crew is regularly composed of local high school students, aided by undergraduate and graduate students during the summer.
Want to learn more? Tune into our interview tonight to learn more about how Dr. Jensen conducts archaeology at the top of the world!