Prehistoric Resilience in the Islands of the Four Mountains
CWU Geology graduate student Frances Griswold and Geology Professor
Bre Macinnes will be part of a cross-disciplinary team of researchers
working in the Islands of the Four Moutains, in the Aleutian Islands
chain of Alaska this summer.
The research group will be posting information about the field season
and their findings as the research proceeds. Check out their
Facebook page and
follow their Twitter feed. There
are already lots of interesting posts about their preparations.
Some background about the Islands of the Four Mountains project
Extending 1800 km between the North American and Asian continents, the
Aleutian Islands divide the northern Pacific Ocean from the Bering Sea.
Given their unique subpolar location, their genesis on a volcanically and
seismically active plate boundary, and the gradual colonization by humans
during the past 8000+ years, the Aleutian Islands are an excellent natural
archaeological laboratory for tracking past: (1) human ecology, (2)
subarctic human-environmental reciprocal relationships and, (3) geological
influences—sometimes catastrophic—on human society. This project,
international and interdisciplinary in scope, will study the connections
among geological, ecological, and human systems in the Islands of the
Four Mountains, Aleutian Islands. Host to some of the world’s most active
volcanoes, the Four Mountains present a superlative opportunity to assess
the development of prehistoric human risk management of and adaptations
to geological instability (climate change, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes,
tsunamis, sea level change) through deep time. Four Mountain prehistoric
sites have been little studied but are highly significant in light of
new geologic data indicating volcanic activity during human migration
and societal development in the Aleutians. Extensive new data expected
from these sites will yield novel insights into North Pacific Rim
regional interactions, Aleut coping mechanisms, changing subsistence,
and adaptations during the prehistoric and European contact periods.