Boston University Sclerochronology Project

Project Overview

What can a clam tell us about an Alaskan village? Zooarchaeologists at BU, in collaboration with researchers from the University of Alabama, are examining growth patterns and sampling oxygen isotopes from archaeological butter clams (Saxidomus gigantea) in order to determine the season of harvest. Clams were excavated during the 1980s from middens at Uyak, an 1100-year-old site on Kodiak Island. Researchers at BU seek to determine whether the Uyak site was occupied year-round as a “winter village,” or was used seasonally for resource procurement. Samples are collected at Boston University, and the analysis of growth patterns and stable oxygen isotopes is taking place at the University of Alabama. Results of this analysis will corroborate with previous faunal analysis from the Uyak site to reveal information about human-environment interactions on Kodiak Island. For more information on this project, contact Professor Catherine West.

Research Collaborators

Catherine F. West, Boston University
Madeline Duppenthaler, Boston University
Christine Bassett, University of Alabama
Fred Andrus, University of Alabama

Related Publications

Andrus, C. Fred T. “Shell Midden Sclerochronology.” Quaternary Science Reviews 30, no. 21 (October 1, 2011): 2892–2905. doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2011.07.016.

Media Gallery