While northern Arctic coasts have long been important sites for the study of cultures on a regional scale, the latest issue of Arctic Anthropology, “The Archaeology of Northern Coasts,” focuses on what coastal peoples can teach us about topics of a global scale, particularly climate change.
The peoples of northern coasts have created some of the longest sustained cultural traditions on Earth. However, over time, they have faced threats to coastal and marine ecosystems as well as colonial pressures. The ways in which these cultures have developed and adapted over millennia holds lessons for our shared future, special issue editor Christopher B. Wolff explains:
The regions that many people view as the margins of human civilization are becoming more central to our understanding of the evolution and development of humanity and are providing information about directions forward in a world with increasing cultural interactivity and global climate unpredictability. Understanding the role that northern coasts and marine ecosystems play in this is crucial.
Articles in this issue open a window into the many different ways northern people have built thriving cultures along the Arctic and Subarctic coasts. Topics include a community-based archaeology project to preserve Yup’ik cultural heritage against the effects of climate change; the relationship between foxes and humans during the Late Holocene period on Kodiak Island, Alaska; and Medieval Norse peoples’ use of marine resources in Greenland. We invite you to browse the table of contents for a full look at the articles in this issue, and read the editor’s introduction.