Ask an archaeologist at the Museum of the North

Published: Oct. 25, 2023 at 8:07 AM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The University of Alaska Museum of the North is holding it’s annual ask an archaeologist event; a time for the public to engage the archaeology program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Digging into the history of Alaska and Alaska Natives, the annual “Ask an Archaeologist” event at the Museum of the North began Monday, Oct. 23 and will end at 1 p.m. on Wed., Oct. 25. The three day event comes after National Archaeology Day, which was Saturday, Oct. 21.

Archaeologists will be sharing their research, collections, and information with all who visit the museum.

On opening day the event featured a project centered around traditional boats made out materials like animal skin, wood, and birch bark. The range of expertise and topics ranges as far and wide as the last frontier.

“So a lot of research is on the arctic and a lot of it’s in Alaska,” said Dr. Josh Reuther, the curator of Archaeology at UAF. “Most of our, we deal with any sort of time depth for archaeology, so we work on things that are 14,000 years old and we work on historic site.”

As the event continues, more projects will be highlighted, including information on archaeological projects on military lands, and the impact of mercury in the Bering Sea. Visitors are also able to bring in their own discoveries and let the experts tell them what they’ve found... along with any other details about it they may know.

The event has been running since 2014, with a couple exceptions for the pandemic years. The archaeology collection manager says the opportunity has been beneficial for both the visitors who come to learn and the researchers themselves.

“I mean you never know who’s going to come in and want to talk and what their expertise or knowledge might be, so yeah, there’s definitely a give and take of knowledge for sure,” said Scott Shirar, archaeology collection manager at UAF. “Us giving folks knowledge that might not have it or if there’s locals that come in and want to tell us more about what we’re showing ‘cause we don’t necessarily know everything about everything or if people want to bring in objects that they found either on their property or in their explorations out in Alaska and want to learn about them, we look forward to doing that too.”.