- Associated Press - Sunday, June 14, 2015

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) - Archeologists say climate change is destroying the historical record of the Arctic people.

The artifacts being received by the University of Alaska Fairbanks’s Museum of the North are more deteriorated than those unearthed decades ago, curator and professor Josh Reuther told KUAC (https://bit.ly/1GEQ1q7 ), and he attributes that to the changing climate.

The problem isn’t just being noticed by academics in museums — archaeologists have seen changes in the field.

“It’s kind of a whole series of problems coming together at the same time to sort of create a perfect storm,” said Max Friesen, a University of Toronto archaeologist working on a dig in Canada’s Northwest Territories. “You have the potential melting of the permafrost, you have sea level rise, you have in some cases changing weather patterns.”

Friesen said he’s alarmed by the rapid deterioration. Until recently, he said, organic artifacts made of materials like wood or animal hides, were abundant around the region because they were preserved by permafrost or silty soils.

“It’s a very rich data base that’s being lost all across the Arctic,” he said.

A professor Scotland’s University of Aberdeen working on a dig in southwestern Alaska agrees that the region really does have more artifacts than is typical.

“There’s so much information there that’s far away and beyond a conventional archaeological site, which is just stones and bones,” Knecht said.


Information from: KUAC-FM, https://www.kuac.org

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