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An Archaeological Survey along the Alaska Highway, 1944

  • Frederick Johnson (a1)
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This is a brief, preliminary account of some of the discoveries made during the summer of 1944 when the author, in collaboration with botanists and a geologist conducted an archaeological survey of the region traversed by the Alaska Highway. The investigations were carried on in but a small section of an area, many thousands of square miles in extent, about which practically nothing was known. A similar survey had been made, in 1942, by Froelich Rainey, but unfortunately this was unsuccessful. However his previous excavations in the Yukon and Tanana River valleys in Alaska did give some indication of what might be discovered. Oscar Lewis had had better luck for he had found a few very interesting artifacts at a site on the Highway near Trutch.

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1 In 1943 the botanical field work was under the direction of Dr. Hugh M. Raup who was sponsored by the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University and certain other institutions. The geological survey was carried on by Dr. Charles Denney, then at Wesleyan University, but who is now with the U. S. Geological Survey at Washington, D. C.

The expedition of 1944 was similarly organized, but with the addition of the author, who was sponsored by the Peabody Foundation, Phillips Academy, Andover. Dr. and Mrs. Raup, and their two sons, Karl and David, continued the botanical work. Dr. Denny's geological work was carried forward by Mr. John Sticht of the Department of Geology, Harvard University. Dr. Stuart K. Harris of Boston University served as cook, in 1944, and at the same, time collected birds and small mammals.

The botanical work was financed by generous grants from the Arnold Arboretum, the Milton Fund at Harvard, the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Science, and the Society of Sigma Xi. The Geological Society of America bore the expense of the geological work and the expenses of the archaeological investigations were paid for by the Peabody Foundation.

The expeditions could not have gone out had it not been for the gracious loan of field equipment by the Department of Mines and Resources in Canada. Of crucial importance were the transportation facilities and the opportunity to purchase subsistence supplies extended by the Northwest Service Command of the United States Army. The arrangement which made this possible was originally made by the Joint Economic Committees. It is impossible to express our great appreciation to all people concerned. Furthermore, the cooperation of the officers and men in the army, in carrying out their part of the program, contributed greatly to the success of the undertaking.

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American Antiquity
  • ISSN: 0002-7316
  • EISSN: 2325-5064
  • URL: /core/journals/american-antiquity
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