This summer, we recovered three copper artifacts from the Klein Site, including a beautiful copper awl recovered in situ by the meticulous Emma Creamer. Copper is associated with the Athabascan transition and I was very excited to have evidence of copper use at the Klein Site. When we returned to Fairbanks for supplies and showers every weekend, I would delight at letting locals know about our copper artifacts and show off photos. Almost all had the same response: people used to make and use copper tools here? Where did it come from? How old is it?
As an Alaskan myself, I can relate to these questions. When we learn about Alaska's history, it's often divided into the peopling of Beringia and the New World, and the history of European colonization and mining, with little attention given to the people in Alaska between these two periods.
Bree is an Alaskan Archaeologist and Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Wyoming