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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Investigating Archaeological Site Vulnerability at Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park in Southeast Alaska
by Mog, Christy M., M.A., Northern Arizona University, 2017, 193; 10282170
Abstract (Summary)

In this thesis, I present new research on fragile and vulnerable archaeological materials melting out of alpine ice patches and other resources situated along unstable fluvial channels that are vulnerable to erosion and channel migration, glacial outburst floods, and increased ice and snow melt in the alpine. During the summer of 2016, I conducted original thesis research while working and interning for the National Park Service at Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park (KLGO) in Alaska assessing and analyzing site vulnerability from climate change and environmental impacts. Archaeological sites at KLGO are highly vulnerable to climate change-driven landscapes which impact irreplaceable and fragile cultural materials. The effects of a changing global climate contribute to the exposure of significant archaeological materials previously preserved in a cryogenic stasis in the alpine. Ice melt in the alpine from changing climatic conditions have significant negative effects on archeological sites and materials located downstream.

In the 2010 Climate Change Response Strategy, the U.S. National Park Service (NPS) recognized that cultural resources are particularly vulnerable to climate change impacts because such resources are fixed on the landscape and loss is permanent. The physical landscape at KLGO helps explain and even dictate the types of archaeological sites which may or may not be found at various locals and expands on the theoretical understandings of environmental archaeology and climate change driven landscapes. Cultural materials at KLGO are immensely important to the heritage of Native American groups and the American public. As the most visited national park in Alaska, with nearly one million visitors a year, KLGO is uniquely positioned to tell the story of climate change and environmental impacts on our nation’s cultural legacy. The long term goal of my thesis project includes providing valuable information for future ice patch work at KLGO, raising awareness on climate change impacts and the effect on archaeological resources, and displaying the importance of applied archaeologists conducting essential research.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Smiley, Francis E.
Commitee: Downum, Christian E., Hardy, Lisa J.
School: Northern Arizona University
Department: Department of Anthropology
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: MAI 57/05M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Archaeology
Keywords: Alaska, Archaeology, Climate change, Ice patch, National Park Service
Publication Number: 10282170
ISBN: 978-0-355-78002-4
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