Seward Peninsula Alaska: Trail Creek Caves 2 and 9 Revisited

The skeletal remains

Kerstin Pasda


The Trail Creek Caves are located in limestone cliffs on the west bank of Trail Creek, Seward Peninsula, Alaska. In 1928, the Deering Eskimos Taylor Moto and Alfred Karmun found arrowheads there. Test excavations were then carried out in Cave 2 in 1948.Unfortunately, the excavated material was lost in a fire at Nome. Between 1949 and 1950, the Dane Helge Larsen carried out further excavations in Caves 2 and 9. Various types of lithic artefacts were recovered. All excavated sections of the caves contained bones in an excellent state of preservation, some of which were very numerous. Ever since Helge Larsen published the investigation of the Trail Creek Caves 2 and 9, their early dates and the supposed presence of man there have been the subject of intensive discussion. This fresh study represents an archaeozoological analysis of the bone material from Caves 2 and 9 excavated by Larsen in the 1940s. It examines whether the bones were accumulated by man and which activities can be deduced from the archaeological remains.