• Image of mountains and river

    Gates Of The Arctic

    National Park & Preserve Alaska

Lake Matcharak Archaeology

During a routine field survey in 2007, NPS archaeologists noted stone artifacts and animal bone fragments eroding out of a shoreline bluff on Lake Matcharak. Continued investigations have produced a suite of previously unidentified archaeological sites around the lake, several of which have been radiocarbon dated to more than 4000 years old.
 
Hard at Work
Archaeologists excavating at Matcharak Lake.
NPS/A. Tremayne
 

At two of these sites further investigation -in the form of systematic subsurface testing and excavation- has revealed the unprecedented, well preserved remains of two distinct prehistoric hunting camps; one, attributed to the Denbigh Flint complex and which dates to 3,900 years before present and the other, attributed to the Northern Archaic complex which dates to roughly 7000 years before present. The following pages will describe the efforts of Park archaeologists to document and research these important finds.

This first link is a summary of the initial investigations carried out at the Denbigh Paleo-Eskimo site.

Paleo-Eskimo Culture at Matcharak Lake 2009 (pdf)

This second link is a summary of the more recent investigations at the Northern Archaic site across the lake.

Investigations at the Matcharak Peninsula site 2013 (pdf)



 

Archaeology Month 2014

The Denbigh Flint Complex was highlighted for the Alaska Archaeology Month annual poster, learn more about this and check out the poster here.

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