Date of Award

6-1980

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Anthropology

Major Professor

Charles H. Faulkner

Committee Members

Paul Parmalee, David A. Etnier, William M. Bass

Abstract

The prehistory of Kachemak Bay, Gulf of Alaska, was reflected in the rich bioarchaeological and zooarchaeological components. The human skeletal remains provided a base for determinations of population affinities, demographic profiles, and pathologic investigations. Closely related are the nutritional resource remains that indicated the animal species utilized, reliance on selected resources, seasonality of procurement, and the periods of nutritional insufficiency.

Human osteological data indicated an Eskimoid stock with closest relationships to North Pacific Eskimo groups. Population profiles are conditioned by a high child mortality rate, but long life spans, at least in females, were realized. Other than a remarkable case of a very rare cancer, two pathological conditions were likely related to seasonal stresses.

Faunal remains provided evidence that a variety of local sea and land mammals, marine birds, bottom fishes, and shellfish was utilized. Mammals and fish provided the bulk of the diet. When reduced to diets of predominately birds and molluscs, as occurred during late winter and through early spring, the human population suffered malnutrition. Although not yet conclusively shown, a possible overuse of areal resources may have led to the abandonment of Kachemak Bay after about 500 A.D. until resource recovery permitted new occupations by intrusive populations.

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