Arctic Field Projects



Project Title: IPY: Human Response to Climate Change at Cape Espenberg AD 800-1400 (Award# 0755725)

PI: Hoffecker, John F (John.Hoffecker@Colorado.edu)
Phone: (303) 220.7646 
Institute/Department: U of Colorado, Boulder, Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research 
IPY Project? YES
Funding Agency: US\Federal\NSF\GEO\OPP\ARC\ASSP
Program Manager: Dr. Anna Kerttula (akerttul@nsf.gov)
Discipline(s): | Social and Human Sciences |

Project Web Site(s):
NSF_Award_Info: http://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward.do?AwardN...

Science Summary:
This grant funds a three-year interdisciplinary research program at Cape Espenberg, located on the northern coast of the Seward Peninsula (Alaska), with a focus on the history of human settlement and response to climate change between AD 800 and 1400. During this interval, a major cultural transition took place in the greater Bering Strait region that underlay the development and subsequent dispersal of the Inupiat or Inuit peoples across much of the circumpolar world. The beach ridges of Cape Espenberg contain a sequence of occupations between AD 800 and 1400 and offer a wealth of paleoclimate data for the Kotzebue Sound region. The research entails mapping, sampling, and limited excavation of former settlements on the beach ridges of Cape Espenberg by an international team of researchers (American, Canadian, and Russian) and student participants from local Alaska native communities. The collection and analysis of archaeological and paleoclimatic data will be undertaken within the framework of questions concerning the transition and subsequent development of human settlement at this location. The results will provide a high-resolution record of environmental and cultural change for a representative place and critical time period for Inupiat origins. A field reconnaissance in August 2007 initiated the mapping and sampling, and documented significant quantities of whale bone on the older ridges.

Logistics Summary:
The PI leads a three-year interdisciplinary investigation of human settlement at Cape Espenberg between AD 800 and 1400 in the context of changing climate. In mid-July 2009, a team travelled to Cape Espenberg via fixed-wing aircraft from Kotzebue. They established a tent camp and spent about six weeks mapping and sampling the settlements. The team worked until mid-August. Due to insufficient data recovery during 2009’s excavation, the project’s 2010 scope was extensively increased to include an additional student crew, up to 29 people on site and efforts focused on 3 specific ridges. A field camp will be established and occupied for 8 weeks from mid-June to mid-August. Beginning in early June, CPS will stage camp equipment/materials in Nome for mid-June put in. Then, the PI, two researchers along with CPS personnel will fly to Nome and on to Shishmaref to prepare the camp gear and materials for put in. The team will travel to the camp via boat with all equipment necessary for the put in. This field party will establish the camp.Three or four days later, additional personnel will begin arriving, traveling via Kotzebue to the Cape Espenberg field site via fixed-wing plane. Research activities will commence and continue throughout the summer with intermittent resupply flights and personnel change-outs via the Fairbanks<>Kotzebue<>Cape Espbenberg logistics chain. A CPS camp manager will ensure the smooth, safe operation of the camp. Each of the three ridge excavations will be managed by a crew chief to oversee digging operations. Specialists in materials ranging from wood, ceramics, soils, bones and architecture will be on hand to interpret findings. In addition, post-doc investigator Josh Wisniewski will conduct anthropological field work on the Seward Peninsula to expand research documenting marine mammal hunting and associated socio-cultural and economic values and meaning tied to hunting – including a field visit with village elders to the Hoffecker camp at Cape Espenberg for traditional ecological knowledge interviews. In 2011, the crew will return for six weeks along with a student crew to continue excavation of various beach ridges. CPS will assist with the mid-June put in. The PI, two researchers, and CPS personnel will fly to Nome and on to Shishmaref to prepare the camp gear and materials for put in. The team will travel to the camp via boat with all equipment necessary for the put in. This field party will establish the camp. Three or four days later, additional personnel will begin arriving, traveling via Kotzebue to the Cape Espenberg field site via fixed-wing plane. Research activities will commence and continue throughout the summer with intermittent resupply flights and personnel change-outs via the Fairbanks<>Kotzebue<>Cape Espbenberg logistics chain. A CPS camp manager and a camp assistant will ensure the smooth, safe operation of the camp. Each of the three ridge excavations will be managed by a crew chief to oversee digging operations. Specialists in materials ranging from wood, ceramics, soils, bones and architecture will be on hand to interpret findings. A National Park Service mentorship program will bring in five high school students from surrounding villages to spend 10 days on site.

For the Hoffecker research, CPS will provide air charters for camp put-in/take-out, camping gear, field food, safety/communications gear and Shishmaref-based boat support. In 2010 & 2011 CPS will provide a camp manager and assistant as well. All other logistics will be provided by the researchers through the grant.
SeasonField SiteDate InDate Out#People
2009Alaska - Cape Espenberg07 / 17 / 2009 08 / 16 / 20098
2009Alaska - Kotzebue07 / 17 / 2009 08 / 16 / 20098
2010Alaska - Cape Espenberg06 / 17 / 2010 08 / 15 / 201038
2010Alaska - Kotzebue06 / 17 / 2010 08 / 15 / 201025
2010Alaska - Nome06 / 14 / 2010 08 / 16 / 20106
2010Alaska - Shishmaref06 / 16 / 2010 08 / 17 / 201017
2011Alaska - Cape Espenberg06 / 22 / 2011 08 / 12 / 201138
 


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Parameters used to generate this report:, Grant# = "0755725", IPY = "ALL" 
     Number of projects returned based on your query parameters = 1
 
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