chapter  6
The archaeology of human–dog relations in Northwest Alaska
ByErica Hill
Pages 18

This chapter identifies multiple lines of evidence for human–dog relations at sites in Northwest Alaska, on the islands in the Bering Sea, and along the coast of Chukotka. Sometime between ad 700 and 1000, relations between humans and dogs in Northwest Alaska began to intensify. While dog traction and consumption are perennial issues in North American Arctic archaeology, dogs also served as sources of raw materials. Dogs took on new roles in travel and transportation by providing traction. Though dog traction was a critical component of Thule and early historic Eskimo lifeways in Northwest Alaska, it represents only one facet of a complex set of human–animal relations manifest in technology, subsistence, and cosmology. The rarity of dog burial in Northwest Alaska and the adjacent coast of Chukotka makes the finds at mortuary sites such as Ipiutak, where dogs and dog elements were found in multiple contexts, particularly noteworthy.