Ancient ice is melting throughout the world, and in the Arctic, annual average temperature has increased at almost twice the rate as that of the rest of the earth. Artifacts that have been frozen in ice for thousands of years are emerging. A team of researchers from the University of New Mexico led by James Dixon investigated ice patches in Alaska’s Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve. The results of the ten year project are the subject of a new exhibition at the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology.
Archaeology on Ice tells the story of the climate change in the Arctic through a unique collaboration between scientists, the Ahtna Heritage Foundation and tribal members. The exceptional preservation of the organic tools (wood, antler, bone, and leather) found at ice patches has enabled people to make direct links between today and the past. Many local people participated in the research to locate and preserve these rare artifacts. They have shared their knowledge about their customary and traditional use of the land and its resources. Artifacts on display include arrows, spear points, and birch bark baskets.
Four short educational videos present significant results of this research: