State of Alaska > Natural Resources > Parks and Outdoor Recreation > History and Archaeology
During the summers of 1995, 1997, and 1998, the Alaska Office of History and Archaeology conducted archaeological field investigations at Baranof Castle State Historic Site, commonly called Castle Hill. The work, funded by the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (ADOT&PF) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), was conducted in conjunction with proposed renovation of the state historical park. The archaeological investigations were progressively phased so that larger areas were opened with each successive field season. A total of 172 square meters were excavated to an average depth of about 50 centimeters, producing a collection of 19th century Russian-American artifacts that is unprecedented in size and diversity.
Archaeological work in 1995 consisted of subsurface testing of the proposed construction area to locate and evaluate buried deposits. During the 1997 field season, 52 one-meter squares were excavated adjacent to the proposed trail footprint on a natural terrace at the base of the hill. The discoveries in this area included structural posts and timbers, and a rich historic midden deposit. In 1998, an additional 103 one-meter squares were excavated along the existing and proposed park trails. This resulted in the discovery of at least four Russian period building ruins with associated artifacts. Also discovered during trail construction was a prehistoric shell midden deposit on the northeast slopes of the hill. A C-14 date for the base of the deposit of approximately 1,000 years ago lends credence to oral tradition of a long occupation at the site by Sitka Tlingit prior to the establishment of the Russian settlement.
The approximately 300,000 artifacts from the site have undergone varying levels of analysis by a staff of four archaeologists (McMahan, Grover, Petruzelli, and Thompson) in a series of temporary laboratories in Anchorage. Due to the size of the collection and limitations of funding, it was not possible to intensively analyze the entire collection. Therefore, artifacts from ten (of 172) units were intensively analyzed while the remainder of the collection underwent varying levels of documentation depending on functional and materials groupings. This report is intended to provide basic documentation required by the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) Section 106 consultation process and is not intended to address all research opportunities that the data may support.
Office of History and Archaeology (OHA)
OHA and SHPO Staff
Alaska Historical Commission
Alaska Geographic Names Program
Alaska Gold Rush Centennials
Alaska Archaeological Survey
Alaska State Historical Parks
Alaska OHA Photo Galleries
Cultural Resource Management Plan for the Denali Highway Lands
Frequently Used Resources
Alaska Heritage Resources Survey
Report Submittal Checklist and Cover Sheet
Permits for Investigations on State Lands
Castle Hill Archaeological Project
Broken Mammoth Archaeological Project
The Wreck of the Kad'yak
Southeast Alaska Historic Shipwrecks
Alaska State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO)
SHPO Main Page
Alaska's Historic Preservation Plan
National Register of Historic Places
Section 106 Review Process
Rehabilitation Tax Credit
Certified Local Government Program
Education (Project Archaeology)
HPF Development Program
Historic Preservation Links
Historic Preservation Series
National Historic Preservation Act
Unalaska South Channel (Amaknak) Bridge Project
New Hours Set for AHRS Research
Last updated on Tuesday, March 2, 2010.
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