Animals, Lifeways and Lifeworlds in Yup’ik Archaeology (ALLY)

Animals, Lifeways and Lifeworlds in Yup’ik Archaeology (ALLY)

Franco-British project in partnership with the Care for the Future program (Arts & Humanities Research Council - United Kingdom)


Animals, Lifeways and Lifeworlds in Yup’ik Archaeology (ALLY): Subsistence, Technologies, and Communities of Change

Bringing new technological, experimental and bioarchaeological expertise to a Yup’ik community archaeological research project, this consortium aims to recover new evidence to better understand continuity and change in the role of animals in subsistence, material culture and society through time in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta (Y-K Delta), Western Alaska. Although current excavations are illuminating Yup’ik life immediately prior to European contact, little is known about how animal-human interactions varied in the Yup’ik precontact past. This partnership of UK and French researchers (Archaeology, Aberdeen; PréTech, Nanterre), and academic and indigenous project partners (Willerslev/Raghavan; Qanirtuuq Inc.), aims to better understand the dietary, technological and societal roles of game animals amongst the Yup’ik and to shed light on the social structures and practices surrounding the procurement, processing, consumption and disposal of wild animal foods (foodways) in the precontact Yup’ik world. Through the course of this research, we seek to explore and make use of the synergies between the past and present. Via community workshops, we will co-study archaeological artefacts associated with foodways and pioneer experimental archaeology in Yup’ik contexts, including the replication of ‘lost’ craft types such as bone working. Archaeological and experimentally-replicated objects will serve as vehicles to discuss present and past ecosystem and social change, promoting trans-generational knowledge exchange and discourse between researchers and culture bearers, enhancing both scientific investigation and community well-being. Combining academic endeavour with traditional ways of knowing and local ecological knowledge will strengthen archaeological interpretations and, through exploring the dynamic past, empower Yup’ik communities coping with ecosystem and social change in the present.

Project managers

Isabelle SIDERA , Director of the laboratory Préhistoire et Technologie Scientific and technical director of the Pasts in the Present cluster , Préhistoire et Technologies, UMR 7055

Kate BRITTON , Senior Lecturer , University of Aberdeen

Internal cluster partners

  • Prehistory and Technology - UMR 7055

Associated partners

University of Aberdeen

Qanirtuuq Incorporated

University of Copenhagen


24 months