The current primary project of our laboratory in human population history focuses on genetic diversity and migration on the North Slope of Alaska. In collaboration with Barrow archaeologist Anne Jensen, Dennis H. O'Rourke and students Justin Tackney and Sean Miller, along with post-doctoral associate Jennifer Raff, are studying the morphological and molecular diversity in early Thule inhabitants of Point Barrow, AK. With the support and encouragement of the local community, archaeologists are removing a prehistoric cemetery at Point Barrow that is eroding into the Arctic Ocean due to changes in weather patterns in the arctic basin. Permissions were obtained to study the biological history of these early inhabitants to the area prior to reinternment further inland. We are also collaborating with M. Geoffrey Hayes, Northwestern University, who is documenting the extent of genetic variation across all the communities of the Alaskan North Slope. Overall, the project promises to provide a rich view of patterns of genetic variation, migrations, settlements, and ancestral-descendant relationships among the populations of the North American Arctic.
Archaeology Crew, Field Season '09
Polar Bears and Whale carcasses and Seagulls, Oh My!
Enjoying the Barrow Nalukataq whaling festival, 2009
Post-doc Jennifer Raff really enjoying the Nalukataq
'Sterile' archaeological collection garb for ancient samples
Jenny collecting in the '09 field season
Dennis O'Rourke coming in from the field on ATV
O'Rourke doing manual labor (we were as surprised as you!)
Pt. Barrow, AK looking toward Plover Point
Photos courtesy of Vanessa Macri, Dennis O'Rourke and Jennifer Raff