Thule Fuel Management at Cape Espenberg (N-O Alaska): Experimental Protocol and Dataset from Current Driftwood Deposits and Archaeological Charcoal Remains - Archive ouverte HAL Access content directly
Poster Communications Year : 2015

Thule Fuel Management at Cape Espenberg (N-O Alaska): Experimental Protocol and Dataset from Current Driftwood Deposits and Archaeological Charcoal Remains

Abstract

This anthracological study addresses the issue of the availability of wood fuel to the inhabitants of the archaeological sites of Cape Espenberg in north-western Alaska during the second millennium AD. We focus specifically on the mechanisms for firewood collection and management in a tundra environment that is poor in wood resources. In this region, driftwood deposited on the shorelines served as the main source of wood for past Thule populations (Alix, forthcoming). Archaeological and ethnographic data indicate that driftwood and other non-timber products (such as animal products) were sometimes mixed to improve the calorific conditions of fires (Burch, 2006). In this study, we first establish an experimental protocol to evaluate 1) the over / under-representation of driftwood species in charcoal assemblages after burning, and 2) how the addition of a non-timber product (animal fat) to the wood fuel may affect the preservation of different species. The results of this experiment highlight the influence of animal fat on driftwood fires and their resulting charcoal assemblages. Next, we present the results of the analysis of excavated anthracological charcoal in Thule houses at Cape Espenberg. Finally, we apply the results of our experimental fires to the interpretation of the archaeological charcoal to determine whether animal fat was combined with wood fuel by Thule people.
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Dates and versions

hal-01846323 , version 1 (21-07-2018)

Identifiers

  • HAL Id : hal-01846323 , version 1

Cite

Marine Vanlandeghem, Claire Alix, Elliott Michelle, Isabelle Théry-Parisot. Thule Fuel Management at Cape Espenberg (N-O Alaska): Experimental Protocol and Dataset from Current Driftwood Deposits and Archaeological Charcoal Remains. 6th International Anthracology Meeting 2015, Aug 2015, Freiburg, Germany. ⟨hal-01846323⟩
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