Walrus Islands Archeological District National Historic Landmark

A photo overlooking the cliffs and walrus haul out beaches below on Round Island.
The cliffs and walrus haul out beaches below on Round Island.

NPS/Jeanne Schaaf 2008

Quick Facts

Bristol Bay, Alaska
Early migration and cultural development in North America
National Historic Landmark & National Natural Landmark

The Walrus Islands Archeological District is one of the few remaining places that provide evidence of human occupation of the Bering Sea continental shelf when sea levels were substantially lower than present. Most of the evidence of outer coastal prehistoric life Alaska is submerged and likely destroyed by ocean currents.

The earliest inhabitants of Round Island were marine adapted and practiced more generalized settlement and subsistence patterns than previously recognized by Alaska researchers. At least 6,000 years ago people hunted walrus on the beaches of Round Island, leaving evidence of the earliest human-walrus relationship in the nation that continues to today.

Cultural remains dating between 6,300 and 200 years old in the Walrus Islands has yielded and is likely to yield information that contributes to our knowledge of the development of Arctic and Subarctic cultural traditions in the U.S. Walrus Islands Archeological District enriches our understanding of maritime adaptations and technological innovations, as well as cultural connections across the Arctic.

More National Historic Landmarks in Alaska

Last updated: April 12, 2018