Nunalleq is the name of an archaeological site in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta region of Southwestern Alaska.
Here the University of Aberdeen Department of Archaeology, in partnership with the village corporation Qanirtuuq, Inc. and the Yup’ik Eskimo village of Quinhagak, Alaska, is working to record archaeological sites threatened by rising sea levels along the Bering Sea.
Nunalleq means ‘the OldVillage’ in Yup’ik. Previous years excavations (2009 & 2010) reveal that this ‘old village’ dates back at least 700 years. It is a multi-period prehistoric (or precontact) Yup’ik winter village site. The waterlogged frozen tundra preserves organic material to an incredible degree. Everything from grass ropes, salmon berry seeds and head lice, along with an abundance of wooden and lithic artefacts and faunal remains builds the knowledge of a Yup’ik prehistory that up until now has been very little known or studied.
In previous years of excavation we located what we interpret as a men’s house. For the 2012 field season we will focus on excavating an entire house pit. On August first a team of archaeology students and volunteers led by Dr Rick Knecht and Dr Charlotta Hillerdal from the University of Aberdeen meet up with Warren Jones and Michael Smith from Quinhagak to break ground in Nunalleq for what promises to be three weeks of very exciting excavation.
For 2013 we’re back in the field with the support by a grant from the AHRC (Arts and Humanities Research Council). The ELLA-project is starting out with a considerably expanded the research staff, and several research partners added to the project. For the 2013 field season we will be out in Quinhagak for four weeks, and hope to fully excavate the Nunalleq site – continuing on the house discovered in 2012.