Abstract: Alaska’s Gold Rush Maritime Landscape
On July 17, 1897, the steamship Portland pulled into Seattle carrying $700,000 in gold from Alaska. The event sparked the first in a series Gold Rushes that brought tens of thousands of people to Alaska. The Gold Rush era left many lasting legacies, among them a complex marine archaeological landscape that extends thousands of miles from British Columbia to the Arctic. This lecture builds on four field projects and the speaker’s experiences as commercial fisherman in Alaska to discuss the dynamics that created a vast “shipwreck landscape” and describes selected shipwreck sites investigated by teams from the Alaska Office of History and Archaeology, the Sea Education Association, and the NOAA National Marine Sanctuary Program. The lecture touches on Alaska history, the history of history technology, and addresses contested issues of community memory and its relationship to the archaeological landscape.