Driftwood as a resource: Modeling fuelwood acquisition strategies in the mid- to late Holocene Gulf of Alaska
TABLE OF CONTENTS Page List of Figures iii List of Tables iv Chapter 1: Introduction 1 The Fuel Dichotomy 4 Previous Research on Northern Driftwood and Fuelwood Use 6 An Economic Model of Hunter-gatherer Fuelwood Harvesting 8 Dissertation Organization 11 Chapter 2: Environmental History 14 Fuelwood Patches on Kodiak 15 Natural Processes Relevant to Terrestrial Fuelwood Catchments 15 Natural Processes Relevant to Littoral Fuelwood Catchments 23 Summary 33 Chapter 3: Cultural Use of Fuelwood on Kodiak, Past and Present 41 Generations of Kodiak Archaeologists 42 Cultural Traditions on Kodiak 44 Archaeological, Ethnohistoric, and Ethnographic Evidence for Wood Use around Kodiak 48 Modern Fuelwood Use 60 Summary 63 Chapter 4: Theoretical Framework and Fuel Acquisition Models 68 Foraging Models 70 Applying a Central Place Foraging Patch Choice Model to Northern Fuelwood Harvesting 74 Summary 86 Chapter 5: Building A Fuelwood Harvesting Model for Sitkalidak Island, Alaska 94 Ethnoarchaeological Investigations 94 Fuelwood Harvesting Models and Predictions 124 Chapter 6: Archaeological Case Study 157 Applying the Fuelwood Model: Archaeological Site Selection 157 Radiocarbon Analyses 163 Archaeological Charcoal Assemblage and Identification Methods 165 Results of Archaeological Charcoal Identification 169 Statistical Assessment of Taxonomic Results 184 Evaluating Bias 191 Further Discussion 194 Summary 195 Chapter 7: Conclusions 230 Do the Data Support an Energy-based Model of Fuelwood Harvesting? 231 Are Data Better Explained by Net Energetic Return or Handling Cost Models? 234 Ethnographic Analogy and Model Building 235 Implications of this Research 237 Future Research 241 l
References 243 Appendix A: Wood Fuel Properties Analyses 262 Appendix B: University of Washington Consent Form 265 Appendix C: Audio and Photographic Recording Publication Consent Form 268 Appendix D: Charcoal Identification Form 269 n
LIST OF FIGURES Figure Number Page 1.1. Location of the Kodiak Archipelago in the northeast Pacific 13 2.1. Map of the Kodiak Archipelago 34 2.2. Ocean surface current trajectories in the Gulf of Alaska 35 3.1. Map of the Kodiak Archipelago, with place names mentioned in text 64 4.1. Patch choice models for central place foragers 87 4.2. Modern distribution of Sitka spruce in NW North America 88 4.3. Sitkalidak Island map with ocean surface currents 89 5.1. Map of Sitkalidak Island place names 138 5.2. Summary of responses to question #la: What driftwood do you target? 139 5.3. Summary of reasons interviewees target certain kinds of wood 140 5.4. Summary of responses to question #3a: How do you decide which logs? 141 5.5. FVI vs. handling cost scores for high supply beaches 142 5.6. FVI vs. handling cost scores for medium supply beaches 143 5.7. FVI vs. handling cost scores for low supply beaches 144 6.1. Location of archaeological sites selected for this research 197 6.2. NISP versus NTAXA for all sites 198 6.3. Woody evenness vs. NISP for all sites 199 6.4. Woody evenness vs. NISP for low, medium, and high supply beaches 199 6.5. Woody evenness vs. NISP for cultural traditions on Kodiak 200 6.6 Relative abundance of alder, by cultural tradition 200 6.7. Relative abundances of alder and spruce, by cultural tradition 201 6.8. Relative abundance of charcoal size class, by wood type 202 6.9. Holocene climate curve for the Gulf of Alaska 203 i n
LIST OF TABLES Table Number Page 2.1. Modern distribution of trees and shrubs in NW North America 36 2.2. Climate trends for the Kodiak Archipelago and the Gulf of Alaska 38 2.3. Holocene distribution of trees and tall shrubs in NW North America 39 3.1. Definition of Kodiak Island cultural traditions and corresponding ages 65 3.2. Categories of Wood Use on Kodiak Island, Alaska 66 3.3. Land and marine mammals found in the Kodiak Archipelago 67 4.1. The maximum heights of potential modern driftwood species 90 4.2. Fuel Value Indices (FVI) for twenty woody taxa from the north Pacific 91 4.3. Fuel value rankings for twenty woody taxa 92 4.4. Average Fuel Value Indices (FVI) for terrestrial and littoral patches 93 5.1. Responses for question #la: What kind of driftwood do you target? 145 5.2. Responses for question #lb: What kind of wood for different functions? 145 5.3. Responses to question #2a: Why do you target certain kinds of wood? 146 5.4. Responses to question #3a: How do you decide which logs you want? 147 5.5. Responses to question #3c: Where do you collect wood? 148 5.6. Relative handling costs for high driftwood supply sites 149 5.7. Relative handling costs for medium driftwood supply sites 150 5.8. Relative handling costs for low driftwood supply sites 151 5.9. Handling cost ranking for high driftwood supply sites 152 5.10. Handling cost ranking for medium driftwood supply sites 153 5.11. Handling cost ranking for low driftwood supply sites 154 5.12. Hypotheses and archaeological expectations 155 6.1. Overview of archaeological sites chosen for inclusion in this research 204 6.2. Provenience information for charcoal samples used in this study 205 6.3. Raw radiocarbon data for this project 206 6.4. Calibrated radiocarbon ages determined for this project 207 6.5. Calibrated radiocarbon ages and cultural periods for samples and sites ...208 6.6. NISP and relative abundances for charcoal from KOD106 209 6.7. KOD106 hardwood and softwood representation 210 iv
6.8. NISP and relative abundances for charcoal from KOD112 211 6.9. KOD112 hardwood and softwood representation 212 6.10. NISP and relative abundances for charcoal from KOD122 213 6.11. KOD122 hardwood and softwood representation 214 6.12. NISP and relative abundances for charcoal from KOD379 215 6.13. KOD379 hardwood and softwood representation 216 6.14. NISP and relative abundances for charcoal from KOD530 217 6.15. KOD530 hardwood and softwood representation 218 6.16. NISP and relative abundances for charcoal from KOD555 219 6.17. KOD555 hardwood and softwood representation 220 6.18. NISP for low supply side sites, by taxon 221 6.19. NISP for low supply side sites, by hardwood/softwood 221 6.20. NISP for medium supply side sites, by taxon 222 6.21. NISP for medium supply side sites, by hardwood/softwood 222 6.22. NISP for high supply side sites, by taxon 223 6.23. NISP for high supply side sites, by hardwood/softwood 223 6.24. NISP for Ocean Bay I tradition sites, by taxon 224 6.25. NISP for Ocean Bay I tradition sites, by hardwood/softwood 224 6.26. NISP for Ocean Bay II tradition sites, by taxon 225 6.27. NISP for Ocean Bay II tradition sites, by hardwood/softwood 225 6.28. NISP for Late Kachemak tradition sites, by taxon 226 6.29. NISP for Late Kachemak tradition sites, by hardwood/softwood 226 6.30. NISP for Koniag tradition sites, by taxon 227 6.31. NISP for Koniag tradition sites, by hardwood/softwood 227 6.32. NISP for Alutiiq tradition sites, by taxon 228 6.33. NISP for Alutiiq tradition sites, by hardwood/softwood 228 6.34. Cochran's test of linear trends for all sites 229 6.35. Cochran's test of linear trends for all cultural traditions 229 6.36. Hardwood and softwood abundance, as a function of sieve size 229 v
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS This dissertation is the culmination of many years worth of advice, support, collaboration, and friendship, without which the document or the author, or both, would have been far less whole. I thank first and foremost my co-chairs, Julie Stein and Ben Fitzhugh, who have deftly guided me from the engineering world into the far more interesting and rewarding realm of archaeology. They have provided me field opportunities and research collaborations and maintained a confidence in me and a collegiality that I deeply appreciate. My third committee member, Don Grayson, helped shape and guide my research in very important ways and always had time to chat and review my work. Several individuals assisted me in my ethnographic field work. Sven Haakanson, Jr. convinced me to do the work in the first place, for which I am very grateful, and served as mentor and host by inviting me to the Akhiok kids' culture camp, teaching me to carve, suggesting interviewees, and demonstrating to me the cultural importance of driftwood, as only such a dedicated Alutiiq advocate could. Carol Jolles prepared me for the daunting Human Subjects process and gave me valuable insight into working as an anthropologist in Alaskan villages. Other Alutiiq Museum staff, especially Patrick Saltonstall and Amy Steffian, integrated me into the northern Kodiak field scene, while providing feedback on my ideas and opportunities for collaboration. April Laktonen Councellor translated Alutiiq passages from my interviews and many other museum staff members welcomed and assisted me during my stays in Kodiak. Patrick and Zoya Saltonstall housed me for more weeks in Kodiak than I can count - their laughter and good will (not to mention laundry facilities) were heaven sent. In Old Harbor, I thank the Old Harbor Tribal Council for permitting me to conduct my research in their community. Mary Haakanson, Phyllis Clough, and Glen Clough generously invited me into their homes, fed me fabulous food (even uutukl), included me in the family Thanksgiving, introduced me to community members, and ensured that I had no end of banya opportunities. In addition, I am deeply appreciative of all the time and knowledge that fifteen Old Harbor residents shared with me over the course of three weeks. They are: Sergie Alexanderoff, Wilfred Alexanderoff, Patrick Andrewvitch, Lawrence Ashouwak, Tony Azuyak, Jr., David Capjohn, Harold Christiansen, Rolf Christiansen, Glen Clough, Mary vi
Haakanson, George Inga, Sr., Paul Kahutak, Gordon Naumoff, Sr., Teacon Simeonoff, and one individual who wished to remain anonymous. Two young adults, Helena Tunohun and Arliss Abalama, assisted me with note-taking and photos during the interviews, and participated in very interesting discussions. The Old Harbor Senior Center and Old Harbor Tribal Council provided a venue for interviews, as did Rolf Christiansen, who let me camp out at his store and talk driftwood for weeks on end. On the research side, Claire Alix has been invaluable in discussing all things driftwood, Don Clark kept me honest by challenging my ideas on fuelwood gathering, and Bill Pyle, with the Fish and Wildlife Service, provided me valuable information on Kodiak vegetation communities. University of Washington Forestry Professors David Briggs and Doug Sprugel donated wood samples from their personal collections, as did John Martin, from the UW School of Art, who lent me time on the wood shop saws. The National Ocean Sciences AMS facility handled my radiocarbon analyses with prompt attention and professionalism and the University of Idaho Wood Products Lab completed my fuel value analyses with rapid turnaround. I am also indebted to Harry Alden and the Smithsonian Center for Materials Research and Education for the top-notch wood identification training I received in 2002. Many organizations contributed funding for this research and employment opportunities along the way. The National Science Foundation (OPP#0425349), Office of Polar Programs, funded the ethnographic research, charcoal identification supplies, and radiocarbon analyses. P.E.O., a national women's organization, sponsored me as a P.E.O. National Scholar, providing a year of tuition reimbursement and living costs. The Winship Memorial Foundation of Battle Creek, Michigan, supported me for several years through tuition assistance. I also thank the University of Washington, Anthropology Department, for awarding me the Alice L. Niles Fellowship in support of finishing my research and dissertation, as well as a pre-dissertation research grant and several travel grants. The Burke Museum Archaeology Department kindly hired me for several stints (separated by just a few years). For this opportunity, I thank Peter Lape, Laura Phillips, and Megon Noble. A long list of friends and colleagues were integral in keeping the ideas flowing and the sanity intact. I would especially like to thank my Kodiak cronies, who made my field and lab experiences so interesting and memorable: Catherine Foster West, Bob Kopperl, Justin Hays, vn
Beth Mahrt, and Amy Margaris. Thanks also to the Raitt Hall gang, who are so much more than lab buddies - Phoebe Anderson, Kris Bovy, Larkin Hood, Stephanie Jolivette, and Roger Kiers. Other friends lent years of support and friendship, especially Brenda Novak, Amy Spooner, Carrie Hamilton, Kady Stone, Carol Frey, Mike Etnier, and Cristie Boone. The "Champagne Sundays" crew of Kate Gallagher, Jimmy Long, Emily Jones, and David Hurley is absolutely irreplaceable, providing much needed comic relief and flocking together at the most critical moments. I could n'ot have accomplished my goals without the support of my family, especially my mom and dad, Nancy and John Deo, my sister, Gretchen Deo, and my grandmother, Caroline Gallagher. You are dear to me and have gone above and beyond the call of duty in every possible way. Lastly, my husband and personal career coach, Matt Shaw, has talked me through some of the most difficult stages of this process, while maintaining a wonderful sense of humor and perspective. I thank him with all of my heart and promise that, soon enough, I will be contributing to cat upkeep once again. Vl l l
DEDICATION To my parents, Nancy and John Deo.
1 CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION He had a big pile of driftwood stacked against the south wall of the house. It was whitened by the sun and sand-scoured by the wind and he would become fond of different pieces so that he would hate to burn them. But there was always more driftwood along the beach after the big storms and he found it was fun to bum even the pieces he was fond of. He knew the sea would sculpt more, and on a cold night he would sit in the big chair in front of the fire, reading by the lamp that stood on the heavy plank table and look up while he was reading to hear the northwester blowing outside and the crashing of the surf and watch the great, bleached pieces of driftwood burning. Islands in the Stream, Ernest Hemingway The discovery, access, and control of fuel resources have initiated some of the most epic struggles for power and land in human history. This quest for fuel has simultaneously enabled great technological innovations and permitted the downfall of civilizations. Needless to say, the most basic human needs depend on a steady supply of fuel: the ability to stay warm, cook food, and create light. So, too, do social connections and cultural traditions depend upon fuel: a dance around a bonfire, a medicinal steam bath, a fireworks display. It comes as no surprise, then, that fuel resources are as important to human subsistence as food, water, and shelter. Those regions of the planet where traditional fuel supplies are limited form the backdrop for this research. Fuel-limited environments are often found in high altitudes and high latitudes, as well as low-elevation deserts, and are defined by minimal soil development, herbaceous and/or shrubby vegetation, and weather systems that often produce temperature extremes, high winds, and fast-moving pressure systems. Because of these environmental conditions, human populations are frequently small and dispersed and humans themselves have developed special biological and technological adaptations that permit them to successfully inhabit such places, such as the increased lung capacity exhibited by Andean highlanders (Greksa 1996) or elaborate caribou and seal skin parkas manufactured by the Inuit (see for example: Mary-Rousseliere 1984). Without these adaptations, survival of a population is unlikely. Habitation of harsh environments is further limited by the tenuous nature of many natural resources. For example, avian, mammal, and plant species are often restricted to very narrow ecological niches within the greater alpine tundra or permafrost ecosystem. Once depleted, they have difficulty reestablishing themselves, due to the great cost of reproduction
2 and migration in such locations. It follows that climatic shifts, diseases, or hunting pressure may have catastrophic effects on the entire biological system. The research presented here investigates high-latitude fuelwood availability and harvesting strategies by applying a new, behavioral ecological approach to a combination of archaeological evidence and ethnographic interviews. Specifically, a 7,500 year history of fuelwood exploitation is represented in archaeological charcoal from Sitkalidak Island, part of the Kodiak Archipelago, located in the north-central Gulf of Alaska. Taxonomic identification of charcoal will be used to understand how fuelwood acquisition and use strategies varied in the mid- to late-Holocene Kodiak Archipelago. Interviews with local community members supplement the archaeological data, as traditional knowledge adds valuable insight into species preference and social significance. The Critical Nature of Fuel to Human Societies The earliest forms of fuel used by humans were likely wood and bone. The Swartkrans cave site of South Africa was inhabited by both Australopithecus robustus and Homo erectus and reveals burned bone fragments dated between 1-1.5 million years ago (Brain and Sillen 1988) - arguably the earliest known use of controlled fire by hominins. Much later in time, the Acheulian site of Gesher Benot Ya'aqov, in northern Israel, documents the use of wood fuel around 790,000 years ago (Goren-Inbar et al. 2004). Evidence for human-controlled fire is more abundant in Mousterian sites, among them the Israeli sites of Kebara Cave (Albert et al. 2000; Schiegl et al. 1996) and Hayonim Cave (Weiner et al. 2002), which show evidence of wood fuel use, and Grotte XVI (Karkanas et al. 2002) in southern France, which exhibits wood and grass fuel remains. Large mammal bones and wood are ubiquitous across many landscapes and together formed the mainstay of human fuel collections in prehistory, as they still do in some undeveloped regions today. Dung, peat, coal, and animal and vegetable oil also have been successfully used for thousands of years, often in situations where access to bone and wood is limited or absent. Hunter-Gatherers and the North Human colonization of high latitude environments presumably began with the Late Pleistocene expansion of Homo sapiens sapiens into northern Eurasia by about 45,000 cal BP, though early well-dated sites such as Ust-Kova (37,000-28,000 cal BP) and Ikhine 2 (31,000- 20,000 cal BP) postdate that estimate by several thousand years (Madsen 2004:9-10). Colonization of the high Arctic (above 66° North) occurred around 20,000 BP, with more
3 significant population expansion in the interval from 12,000 to 7,000 years ago (Hoffecker 2005:112-114). Bone fuel was used as early as 20,000 years ago in Epi-Gravettian sites of the Ukraine and Russia (Hoffecker 2005:104). Other archaeologically-visible adaptations to the cold take the form of semi-subterranean structures with cold trap entrances, cold weather clothing, stone lamps, and complex hunting and fishing technology (Hoffecker 2005:70). As people became more adept at buffering against the cold and remoteness of the north, they continued their northward and eastward migration. Archaeological evidence at sites along the Tanana River in central Alaska (see for example: Holmes 1996; Holmes et al. 1996) and other locales supports human entry into the Americas by at least 13,500 years ago, likely through Beringia. Debate over the character of the late glacial Beringian landscape has raged for decades, with proponents for both a productive grassland, or "mammoth steppe" environment, and mosaic tundra regime fiercely defending their positions in the literature (see Hopkins et al. 1982 for a review of the debate). Recent palynological evidence supports a heterogeneous landscape during the Last Glacial Maximum, with a central mesic-tundra section flanked by shrub tundra vegetation to the west and an even drier eastern front dotted with willows and herbaceous tundra (Brigham-Grette et al. 2004; Clague et al. 2004; Hoffecker and Elias 2003). Early human travelers may have found fuelwood from such shrubby patches. Although radiocarbon dates show an established human presence in central and southern Alaska by 13,500 years ago, the high Arctic of eastern Canada and Greenland did not see widespread maritime occupation until approximately 4,500 years ago. The earliest "wave" of North American colonists likely had its genetic roots in the vicinity of south-central Siberia and northern China (Schurr 2004), while later Eskimoan populations may have emerged in situ from northern Alaska (Hoffecker 2005:128-134). This disparity in settlement timing suggests that, until relatively recently, human groups were unable to cope with life on the ice and permafrost, including the temperature extremes that distinguish such environments. Archaeological evidence shows that residents in northern Greenland had burned local dwarf willow, driftwood, and small animal bones in their hearths by 4,500 yr BP (McGhee 1990:26- 37). By 4,000 yr BP, pre-Dorset sites contain stone lamps that were presumably fueled by sea mammal oil. Cultural Adaptations to Cold Climates The Arctic and sub-Arctic are two regions that showcase the fragile nature of the human-environmental interaction. The short growing season and tundra vegetation mean that
4 plants may be stunted and animals must migrate long distances to find ample forage. It follows that northern foragers must gather the majority of their land-based food in the spring and summer months and either relocate to the water's edge, send hunting parties to track migrating herds, or rely on technological means to extend their food availability through the winter. Indeed, human groups in the North developed preservation and storage methods to buffer against long winters and periods of food shortfall. For example, storage pits are evident in the northeast Asian sites of Mal'ta and Buret by 23,000 cal BP (Brantingham et al. 2004:259-260), and a storage economy developed between 4,000 and 2,700 yr BP in the Kodiak Archipelago (Steffian et al. 2006) and by 1500 BC in Neolithic Korea (Norton et al. 1999). Ames and Maschner (1999:251) argue that a storage-based economy certainly existed by 1800 BC on the Northwest Coast of North America; however, preservation techniques were likely practiced much earlier in the human history of the region, as a safeguard against the long winters of the terminal Pleistocene. Fuel is also a necessary element to surviving in the North, whether to provide heat for warmth, cooking, and healing, light for socializing, hunting, and task work, or a combination of these reasons. It follows that the particular fuel-getting strategies employed by human foragers should be of interest to archaeologists, as we seek to understand the relationship between humans and their environments. The Fuel Dichotomy Fuel availability both enables and prevents successful human habitation of landscapes, and although it is not the only subsistence resource that groups must consider, it is important to recognize the constraints that fuel-limited environments place upon their inhabitants. Fuel as a limiting factor in human migration Hoffecker and others (Hoffecker et al. 1993; Guthrie 1990) suggest that the availability of wood fuel was a limiting factor in people's ability to colonize late Pleistocene, high-latitude landscapes, such as Beringian river valleys. Ames and Maschner (1999:63) suggest that evidence for driftwood deposits on Northern Pacific coasts would bolster the case for a coastal migration route into the Americas, since driftwood would provide a necessary source of fuel and building materials. In suggesting a link between migration patterns and fuelwood availability, these researchers acknowledge that fuelwoods were as critical to northern subsistence regimes as were food resources.
5 Fuel as a catalyst for human migration Fuel scarcity was indeed a significant cause for concern historically and many groups relocated their residences once the abundance of local fuelwoods had been diminished. The post-contact era Onondaga Iroquois moved their fishing villages periodically to areas with relatively unexploited supplies of firewood and more fertile soil (Tuck 1971). Likewise, the Huron-Petun branch of the Iroquois moved large villages every ten to twenty years to renew their firewood supply and soil quality (Wright 1966). This practice is comparable to modern horticulturalists and agriculturalists, who often leave fields fallow for a period of years in order to renew nutrients in the soil. Fuel as a catalyst for settlement abandonment The archaeological evidence abounds with another response to fuel shortage: abandonment. Throughout prehistory, various populations have stripped their surrounding lands of trees and vegetation for fuel and other wood needs. The ensuing environmental degradation is not easily remedied in vulnerable island landscapes or where a dense population depends upon agricultural yields for survival. For example, researchers believe that wood overexploitation contributed to the abandonment of the urban metropolis of Cahokia, located on the Mississippi River floodplain (Lopinot and Woods 1993; Woods 2004). From approximately A.D. 950 to A.D. 1350, inhabitants repeatedly harvested the lush oak-hickory forests for fuel, building materials, and agricultural clearing. The environmental consequences likely included significant run-off and flooding - a combination of factors that would have inundated the surrounding maize fields and destroyed the city's primary crop. The archaeological record shows progressive dispersal of the Cahokia's inhabitants, especially to high elevation sites, and eventual abandonment of the city by A.D. 1350. The Norse colonization of Iceland during the 9th through 11th centuries A.D. left an indelible mark on the island's native birch forests. Researchers believe that the forests were decimated within 200 to 300 years after settlement, in order to provide farming and grazing land, timber for building, and fuel for both household use and iron smelting activities (Eysteinsson and Blondal 2000). Indeed, pollen records reflect a rapid decline in birch accompanied by a dramatic increase in grasses within the first few decades of the A.D. 870 Norse settlement (Buckland 2000). The ultimate processes by which Icelandic farms were abandoned is a complex interplay of environmental degradation, climatic cooling, and cultural
6 and economic factors; however, the social control of fuel resources may have resulted in the success of certain sites, at the expense of others (Simpson et al. 2003). Pollen records show that a similar pattern of deforestation, followed by overgrazing and soil erosion, also contributed to the abandonment of farms in Norse Greenland (McGovern 2000). In a final example, the decline of the great moa/-building civilization on Rapa Nui (Easter Island) is attributed by some researchers to the ecological disaster stemming from deforestation of the island's native great palms and further compounded by the drought-prone nature of this small island ecosystem (Mann et al. 2008; see also Hunt 2007 for discussion of alternative explanations for ecological degradation). The palms were harvested for use as fuel, building material, canoes, and skids for transporting the giant moai, resulting in a cycle of deforestation and soil erosion that began within a century of island colonization in A.D. 1200. The effects of environmental degradation contributed to the ensuing cultural reorganization and likely population collapse by A.D. 1650. Suffice it to say, the overharvesting of native woodlands in order to provide fuel, timber, and agricultural lands has contributed to the migration, if not decline, of populations, population centers, and agricultural settlements throughout the past. The quest for fuel is part of a greater suite of natural resources exploited by most hunter-gatherer and agricultural groups and, especially when this quest occurs in a high latitude setting, fragile island ecosystem, or in conjunction with climate change, the results can be disastrous to both the people and the local environment. It behooves archaeologists, then, to understand and more critically model the decision-making behaviors that surround fuel harvesting, so that the role of fuel resources in greater social, technological, and environmental processes can be discerned. Ideally, the lessons from the past can be applied to regions today where fuel harvesting and sustainability are critical to human success. Previous Research on Northern Driftwood and Fuelwood Use While plentiful research exists on the sustainability of other northern subsistence items, including fish (Botsford 1997; Finney et al. 2000; Kopperl 2003) and sea mammals (Burns 2000; Etnier 2002; Finley 2001; Jackson et al. 2001), little attention has been focused on understanding the sustainability and complex human behaviors surrounding fuel resources. In particular, driftwood fills an especially important fuel niche in high latitude, tundra-dominated environments where forests are scarce and villages remote. This omission is curious, since