Skooter reporting 09/12/12
A 500-year old Alaskan Eskimo settlement was recently discovered wearing down from under the permafrost, and allowing researchers the opportunity to study a culture that went through its own dramatic climate change centuries ago, BBC reports.
Under the frozen site are the antiquated ruins belonging to the Yup’ik Eskimo culture, researchers reported. The Yup'ik which are still existing in Alaska today were one of the last Eskimo civilization to get in touch with, and in their glory days, were among the Arctic’s most powerful and well-represented cultures.
Thousands of artifacts are being save from the site by the University of Aberdeen, most of which are described as “exquisitely preserved” after centuries of being sheathed in frost. They include everything one would imagine from village life including animal furs, woven grass, figurines and even human hair.
Nunalleq is the name of the site and is believed to have been occupied between AD 1350 and AD 1650. At that time, the area was said to have suffered what is termed as “The Little Ice Age.” In disparity to our climate issues, the Yup’ik were subjected to rapidly falling temperatures and expanding ice caps.
How theYup’ik developed their behavior to fit their changing environment - that is the point of interest of the Aberdeen research team hoping to find out. One procedure they’re taking is to analyze the human hair found at the site, so that they could split its code of isotopes and determine how the Eskimos changed their diets in order to suit the temperatures. Just like our warming issues today, global cooling have an effect on what foods were available, and by tracking the hair samples, archaeologists can uncover modifications in cultural behavior that allowed these native people to live on.
Dr. Rick Knecht was quoted as he explained to BBC, "This isn't just an area of cultural importance, but we could also create a predictive model about what to expect in the coming decades.”