Tracking Ecological Change from Earliest Human Arrival in Alaska to the Present

The Quartz Lake - Shaw Creek Flats (QL-SCF) Project is a multidisciplinary, ecosystem level study with a geographical focus on a 215 km2 wetland complex in the middle Tanana River valley of Alaska. The project's focus is on tracking ecological change in this wetland complex from the end of the Last Glacial Maximum to the present. The wetland is bordered by three of the earliest archaeological sites found in Eastern Beringia.The QL-SCF wetland area, 80 miles by highway from Fairbanks, serves as an easily accessible field laboratory for research and teaching at K-12 and university levels. The multiple disciplines involved in this project includes physical, biological, and social sciences, enables addressing the complex dynamics off the GL-SCF ecosystem as they have changed over time.


Rationale for the QL-SCF Multidisciplinary Project

1. To increase understanding of the ecosystem dynamics of this unique wetland system within the present climate of accelerated change through integrated research from multiple disciplinary perspectives.

2. To expand knowledge of the changes that have taken place over time in the biological and physical components of the area since the LGM.

3. To increase understanding of human prehistoric use of the area and explore past human-environmental relationships.

4. To increase the understanding of the dynamics of a Subarctic wetland ecosystem of high biological productivity and biodiversity, important for management and conservation of the area's natural resources.

5. To utilize the QL-SCF wetland complex to provide a readily accessible field laboratory for research studies and related K-12 and beyond teaching in the biological, physical, and social sciences.

Disciplines

Project collaborators from multiple disciplines are working together to strengthen inferences and develop models for complex dynamics of the QL-SCF wetland complex. These disciplines include ecology, climate change science, archaeology, geology, hydrology and subdisciplines are many and varied: limnology, wildlife management, remote sensing, meteorology, cultural anthropology, plate tectonics, permafrost, glaciology, sedimentation, pathogen ecology, entomology, botany, ornithology, water and soil chemistry, stable isotopes, population biology, and forestry.


Major Components
Lake and Bog Coring (Wooller, Bigelow, Reuther, Gaglioti, Kurek, Cwynar, Smol)
Mead Site Archaeology (Potter)
Swan Point Archaeology (Holmes)
Keystone Dune Site (Reuther, Holmes, Lanoe, Kielhofer)
Geoarchaeology and Terrestrial Paleoecology in Lowlands of Middle Tanana Valley (Reuther, Kielhofer)
Subarctic Lakes and Wetlands: Lowland Land Use in Central Alaska (Gelvin-Reymiller, Potter, Reuther, Bigelow, Halffman, McKinney)
Salmon Resource Use through Time (Halffman, Potter, McKinney, Reuther)
Entomological collection and research (Sikes)
Botanical collection and Research (Klein, Ray, and Juday)
Hydrology (Liljedahl, Yoshikawa)


Participants/Collaborators at UAF

Dr. David Klein (Professor Emeritus, Institute of Arctic Biology, Dept. of Biology and Wildlife)
Dr. Nancy Bigelow (Alaska Quaternary Center, Arctic paleoecology, palynology, vegetation history, and ecosystem responses to climate change during the Quaternary Period)
Benjamin Gaglioti (PhD candidate, Interdisciplinary Program, Water and Environmental Research Center, climate change effects on terrestrial carbon dynamics)
Dr. Carrin Halffman (Affiliate Research Assistant Professor, Dept. of Anthropology - environmental chemistry, stable isotopes, human diets and foodwebs)
Justin Hays (PhD student, Dept. of Anthropology, subarctic archaeology)
Dr. Larry Hinzman (Director, IARC, hydrology, soil science, and permafrost)
Dr. Charles Holmes (Affiliate Research Professor, Dept. of Anthropology, Beringian archaeology, Subarctic cultural adaptations, Athabascan archaeology, lithic analysis)
Dr. Kris Hundertmark (Associate Professor of Wildlife Ecology, Institute of Arctic Biology, Dept. of Biology and Wildlife, population ecology of large mammals, phylogeography of Beringian megafauna)
Dr. Glenn Juday (Professor of Forest Ecology, School of Natural Resources & Agricultural Sciences, forest ecology)
Dr. Anna Liljedahl (Research Assistant Professor, IARC, micro- to watershed scale arctic and subarctic hydrology, surface energy exchange)
Dr. Andres Lopez (Curator of Fishes, University of Alaska Museum, fish taxonomy and phylogenetics)
Dr. Holly McKinney (post-doctoral researcher, Dept. of Anthropology, zooarchaeology, stable isotopes)
Dr. Ben Potter (Associate Professor, Dept. of Anthropology, subarctic and arctic archaeology, Late Pleistocene and early Holocene adaptations)
Dr. Peter Ray (Research Scientist, Institute of Arctic Biology, botany)
Dr. Josh Reuther (Curator of Archaeology, University of Alaska Museum, and Assistant Professor, Dept. of Anthropology, geoarchaeology, landscape evolution)
Dr. Derek Sikes (Associate Professor of Entomology, Curator of Insects, University of Alaska Museum, entomology)
Dr. John Walsh (President's Professor of Climate Change and Chief Scientist, IARC, climate change and meteorology of polar regions)
Dr. Mark Whipfli (Associate Professor of Aquatic Ecology & Fisheries, SFOS, IAB, aquatic ecology/fisheries)
Dr. Mat Wooller (Professor, Water and Environmental Research Center and Director, Alaska Stable Isotope Facility, stable isotope biogeochemistry, Quaternary paleoclimate and paleoecology)
Dr. Kenji Yoshikawa (Professor of Water Resources, Water and Environmental Research Center, Inst. of Northern Engineering, geophysics, geomorphology, permafrost hydrology)

Participants/Collaborators at Other Institutions

Patty Burns (State of Alaska, geology)
Dr. Barbara Crass (Shaw Creek Archaeological Research, LLC, prehistoric fuel usage, archaeological biochemistry)
Dr. Mary Edwards
(U. Southhampton, paleoecology)
Jennifer Kielhofer (PhD candidate, Dept of Geosciences, University of Arizona, geoarchaeology, soil geomorphology)
Dr. Amanda King (Assistant Professor of Geology and Earth Sciences, Alaska Pacific University, paleoclimate reconstruction using isotopic markers, preserved in lake sediments)
Dr. Josh Kurek (Post-doctoral researcher, Queens University, aquatic invertebrates and environmental change)
Francois Lanoe
(PhD candidate, Dept of Anthropology, University of Arizona, zooarchaeology, ungulate ecology, late Pleistocene and early Holocene adaptations)
Dr. Jason Rogers
(Senior Archaeologist, Northern Land Use Research Alaska, subarctic and arctic archaeology, high resolution mapping)
Bob Sattler
(Tanana Chiefs Conference, anthropology, archaeology)
Dr. John Smol (Queens Univ., arctic paleoecology, limnology)
Dr. David Yesner (University of Alaska Anchorage, anthropology, archaeology)



Activities
Semi-anunual entomological sampling at Quartz Lake, north shore, (2007-present)
Archaeological excavation at Mead site (2009-present)
Archaeological excavation at Swan Point (2009, 2010, 2013)
Archaeological testing at sites surrounding Quartz Lake and Little Lost Lake (2008-present)
Wetland and aquatic plant collection (2009-present)
White spruce coring (2009, 2010)
Sediment coring at Quartz Lake (Feb. 2010)
Sediment coring at Little Lost Lake (April 2015)

Related Publications/Presentations

Publications

Sikes, D.S., R.T. Allen. (in review) First Alaskan records and a significant northern range extension for two species of Diplura  (Diplura: Campodeidae). ZooKeys.

Potter, Ben A. in press   Holocene Prehistory of the Northwestern Subarctic. In Handbook of Arctic Archaeology, edited by O. K. Mason, and M. T. Friesen. Oxford University Press. (June 2016 publication date)

Wooller, Matthew J., Benjamn Gaglioti, Tara L. Fulton, Andres Lopez, and Beth Shapiro 2015. Post-glacial dispersal patterns of Northern pike inferred from an 8800 year old pike (Esox cf. Lucius) skull from interior Alaska. Quaternary Science Reviews 120:118-125.

Potter Ben A., Holmes, Charles E., and David R. Yesner 2013. Technology and economy among the earliest prehistoric foragers in interior eastern Beringia. In: K.E. Graf, C.V. Ketron, and M.R. Waters (eds) Paleoamerican Odyssey. College Station: Center for the Study of the First Americans, Texas A&M University, pp.81-104.

Wooller, M., J Kurek, B. Gaglioti, L Cwynar, N. Bigelow, J. Reuther, C. Gelvin-Reymiller, and J Smol. 2012. An ~11,200 cal yr BP paleolimnological perspective for the archaeological findings at Quartz Lake, Alaska. In Journal of Paleolimnology, Arctic Lakes Special Issue. Darrell S. Kaufman, guest editor.

Potter, Ben A. 2011. Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene Assemblage Variability in Central Alaska. In From the Yenisei to the Yukon: Interpreting Lithic Assemblage Variability in Late Pleistocene/Early Holocene Beringia, edited by Ted E. Goebel and Ian Buvit. Texas A&M Press, College Station, pp. 215-233.

Holmes, Charles E.  2011. The Beringian and Transitional Periods in Alaska: Technology of the East Beringian Tradition as Viewed from Swan Point. In From the Yensei to the Yukon: Interpreting Lithic Assemblages Variability in Late Pleistocene/Early Holocene Beringia, edited by T. Goebel and Ian Buvit, pp. 179-191. Texas A&M University Press, College Station.

Crass, Barbara A., Brant L. Kedrowski, Jacob Baus, and Jeffrey A. Behm 2011. Residue Analysis of Bone-Fueled Pleistocene Hearths. In From the Yensei to the Yukon: Interpreting Lithic Assemblages Variability in Late Pleistocene/Early Holocene Beringia, edited by T. Goebel, and Ian Buvit, pp. 192-198. Peopling of the Americas Publications, M. R. Waters, and Ted Goebel, general editor. Texas A&M University Press, College Station.

Potter, Ben A., Phoebe Gilbert, Charles E. Holmes, Barbara Crass, and Robert Bowman. 
2011. The Mead Site, A Late-Pleistocene/Holocene Stratified Site in Central Alaska. Current Research in the Pleistocene 28:73-75.

Kedrowski, B.L., B.A. Crass, J.A. Behm, J.C. Luetke, A.L. Nichols, A.M. Moreck,
and C.E. Holmes 2009. GC/MS Analysis of Fatty Acids from Ancient Hearth Residues at the Swan Point Archaeological Site. Archaeometry 51(1):110-122.

Holmes, Charles E. 2008. The Taiga Period: Holocene Archaeology of the Northern Boreal Forest, Alaska. Alaska Journal of Anthropology 6(1-2):69-82.

Robert J. Speakman, Charles E. Holmes, and Michael D. Glascock. 2007. Source Determination of Obsidian Artifacts from Swan Point (XBD-156), Alaska. Current Research in the Pleistocene, 24:143-145.


Theses/Dissertations

Gaglioti, Ben (Ph.D. in progress)

Gilbert, Phoebe J. 2011. Micromorphology, Site Spatial Variation and Patterning, and Climate Change at the Mead Site: A Multicomponent Archaeological Site in Interior Alaska. M.A. Thesis, Department of Anthropology, University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Gelvin-Reymiller, Carol (Ph.D. in progress) Subarctic Lakes and Wetlands: Lowland Land Use in Central Alaska. PhD dissertation, Department of Anthropology, University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Little, Allie. 2013. Lithic Analysis at Mead Site, Central Alaska. M.A. Thesis, Department of Anthropology, University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Reuther, Joshua D. 2013. Late Glacial and Early Holocene Geoarchaeology and Terrestrial Paleoecology in the Middle Tanana Valley, Central Alaska. PhD. dissertation, School of Anthropology, University of Arizona.


Presentations at Regional/National/International Meetings

Hirasawa, Yu and Charles Holmes 2015. Microblade Production Technology in Alaska from the Perspective of the Swan Point Site. Paper presented at the INQUA Meeting, July, Nogoya, Japan.

Potter, Ben A., and Holly J. McKinney 2015. Late Pleistocene art and domestic activity areas at Mead site, central Alaska. Paper presented at the 42nd Annual Alaska Anthropological Association Meetings, Fairbanks. AAA Program 42:98

Hirasawa, Yu and Charles Holmes 2015. Microblade Production Technology at Swan Point from the Terminal Pleistocene to the Middle Holocene. Paper presented at 42nd Annual Meeting of the Alaska Anthropology Association, March 4-7, Anchorage, Alaska.

Holmes, Charles E. 2014. New Evidence Pertaining to the Early Archaeological Sequence at Swan Point, Central Alaska. Poster prepared for 41st Annual Meeting of the Alaska Anthropology Association, March, Fairbanks, Alaska.

Potter, Ben A. 2014. Social Organization and Adaptive Responses to late Pleistocene Climate Change in Beringia. Paper presented (and discussant) for the Arctic Roundtable: The Peopling of the Americas, sponsored by the Arctic Institute of North America

Holmes, Charles E. 2013. The Early Archaeological Sequence at Swan Point, Central Alaska. Poster prepared for 41st Annual Meeting of the Alaska Anthropology Association, March, Fairbanks, Alaska.

Whalen, Chris, Daniel Fisher, and Charles Holmes 2013. Quantitative Approach to Rib Identification at an Alaska Pleistocene Site. Poster presented at the 75nd Meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, Oct. 30-Nov. 2, Los Angeles, CA.

Kielhofer, Jennifer, Joshua  D. Reuther, Francois Lanoë, David Plaskett, and Jason S. Rogers. 2015. Summer at the lake: new carbon-14 (14C) dates on "old" cultural components near Quartz Lake, Interior Alaska. 80th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco,CA..

Potter, Ben A., Allison Little, and Crystal Glassburn 2013. Site Structure and Organization at Mead, central Alaska. Paper presented at the 40th Annual Alaska Anthropological Association Meetings, Fairbanks. AAA Program 40.

Little, Allison A., and Ben A. Potter 2013. Lithic Analysis at the Mead Site, Central Alaska. Paper presented at the 40th Annual Meeting of the Alaska Anthropological Association, March 13th-16th, 2013, Anchorage.

Reuther, Joshua D., Ben Potter and James Feathers. 2012. Aeolian Sand Deposition during the Terminal Pleistocene and Early Holocene in the Middle Tanana Valley: Implications for Paleoenvironments and Prehistoric Land Use. Paper presented at the 39th Annual Meeting of the Alaska Anthropological Association, Seattle, February 29th-March 3rd, 2012.

Holmes, Charles E., Daniel Fisher, and Adam Rountrey 2012 Dental and Skeletal Evidence Point to the Hunting of Mammoths in central Alaska. Poster prepared for 39th Annual Meeting of the Alaska Anthropology Association Feb. 29-March 3, Seattle, WA.

Gelvin-Reymiller, C., J.D, Reuther, M. Woller, B, Gaglioti, D.R. Klein, B.A. Potter. 2011. Quartz Lake in the mid-Tanana Valley, Interior Alaska: Human presence throughout the Holocene. Poster presented at the 76th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Sacramento, CA.

Gelvin-Reymiller, Carol., and Ben A. Potter. 2011. Enduring relationships: deer and humans in western subarctic prehistory from Late Pleistocene to recent times. Paper presented at the Deer and People: Past, Present, and Future Conference, September 8-11, 2011, Riseholme Park, University of Lincoln, United Kingdom.

Reuther, Joshua D., Ben A. Potter, and Carol Gelvin-Reymiller. 2011. Landscape Evolution and Hunter-Gatherer Occupation of the Middle Tanana Valley. Paper presented at the 38th annual Alaska Anthropological Association Conference, Fairbanks, Alaska. AAA Program 38, p. 45.

Gilbert, Phoebe J. and Ben A. Potter
2011 Geoarchaeology at the Mead Site. Paper presented at the 38th annual Alaska Anthropological Association Conference, Fairbanks, Alaska. AAA Program 38, p. 31.

Holmes, Charles E. 2011. A Late Holocene “House” at Swan Point Associated With Microblade Technology. Poster prepared for 38th Annual Meeting of the Alaska Anthropology Association March 9-12, Fairbanks, Alaska.

Reuther, Josh, Carol Gelvin-Reymiller, Les Cwynar, Ben Gaglioti, Matthew Wooller, Nancy Bigelow, D.R. Klein, Joshua Kurek. 2010. A 13,000 Year Record of Human-Environment Interactions at Quartz Lake, Interior Alaska. Paper presented at the Geological Society of America annual meeting. In Reconstructing Interactions between Humans and the Natural Environment during the Holocene session.

Potter, Ben A., Phoebe J. Gilbert, Charles E. Holmes, and Barbara A. Crass. 2010. Recent Archaeological Research at the Mead Site, central Alaska. Presentation at the 75th annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, St. Louis.

Crass, Barbara A., Charles E. Holmes, and Ben A. Potter. 2010. Experimental Archaeology at the Mead Site. Poster presented at the 75th annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, St. Louis.

Holmes, Charles E. 2010. Excavations at Swan Point in 2009: Exploring Technology and Technique at a Beringian Period Workshop in Central Alaska. Poster prepared for 37th Annual Meeting of the Alaska Anthropology Association, March 24-27, Anchorage, Alaska.

Gelvin-Reymiller, Carol, Josh Reuther, David R.Klein. 2010. Shaw Creek Flats East Project: Preliminary Overview of Four Sites at Quartz Lake, 2009 Fieldwork. Paper presented at Alaska Anthropology Association 37th annual meeting. In Recent Archaeological Research in the Western Subarctic session

Gilbert, Phoebe, Josh Reuther, and Ben Potter 2010. Occupation and Climate change at the Mead Site: A Geoarchaeological Approach. Poster presented at the 37th Annual Meeting of the Alaska Anthropological Association, Anchorage, March 24th-27th , 2010.

Klein, David R., Nancy H. Bigelow, Mandy Booth, Benjamin Gaglioti, Carol Gelvin-Reymiller, Charles E. Holmes, Kris Hundertmark, Anna Liljedahl, Ben A. Potter, Joshua D. Reuther, and Mat Wooller. 2009. Tracking Ecological Change from Earliest Human Arrival in Alaska to the Present: The Quartz Lake – Shaw Creek Flats Multidisciplinary Project. Poster presented at the 39th Annual International Arctic Workshop, Bates College, Lewiston, Maine.