While the current estimated age of the sod house places it possibly as early as 500 A.D., this particular area has been inhabited by Iñupiat people for at least 3,500 years. In 1968, Dennis Stanford led a partial excavation of a group of sod homes in the same area, albeit further back on the tundra and away from the beach.
This summer, Jensen and her crew were able to establish that the area they were working on is a midden, or garbage pit. While a garbage pit may not sound very important or appealing, this kind of well-preserved ancient find provides an extraordinarily valuable snapshot into the history of Iñupiat people. While oral and written history is important, archaeology provides a very unique perspective on lessons we may not otherwise learn.
Story: Abra Stolte-Patkotak | Photo: Wikimedia Commons