by Phillip Manning ~ July 19th, 2013
The local students who participated in the archaeology field school sponsored by Denali National Park presented their findings at the Sheldon Community Arts Hangar on Friday afternoon. They spent the week excavating test sites at the site of a former structure near the Talkeetna Ranger Station. Phoebe Gilbert, an archaeologist for the Park, explained that the goal was to use artifacts at the site to determine who might have lived there, and what sort of activity took place.
Notable finds included a number of bottles as well as a carbide mining lamp from 1925. By identifying the maker’s marks on the bottles and analyzing how they were manufactured, the team was able to determine that the bottles were made sometime between 1926 and 1933. At the same depth a number of moose bones were found that showed signs of having been butchered. The students concluded that there may have been miners living at the site in the ’20s and ’30s, when Talkeetna was used as a supply point for mining camps.
The dig also yielded artifacts from the 1960s, including cans and bottles, as well as a 1966 quarter. The students say this indicates that the site was used again in the 1960s, possibly as a temporary residence.
Some of the participating students say that this field school has sparked their interest in archaeology, and that they may consider it as a possible career.