Archaeologists and climatologists who jointly explored a rocky tundra plateau in the west of the Brooks Range in Alaska, discovered hundreds of remains of houses and stone pyramids, which are about 11 thousand years old.
A study report appeared in Anchorage Daily News. Its author is Ned Rosell, a research fellow at the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks. A large-scale study began in 2011, when the National Park Service built a meteorological station on Howard Pass. Such facilities are designed to operate autonomously in remote places throughout Alaska. The station is powered by solar panels, and sends the received data via space satellites.
This information helped archaeologists to choose the most suitable time for the expedition and explore the vast space between the Colville and Noack rivers. They visited there and found out that even in the most extreme weather conditions in Alaska in ancient times there were large settlements.
At Howard Pass, hundreds of remnants of dwellings were discovered, including circular “foundations” on which igloo domed houses were installed, as well as pits for storing food, raw materials and waste from the production of stone tools. In addition, pyramidal piles of stones were found. These structures are far from being as monumental as the pyramids of Egypt, but they are approximately twice as old as the African ones. Scientists believe that the ancient pyramids in Alaska served as traps into which people drove caribou – reindeer.
“Locals took advantage of caribou, fish, berries, waterfowl and, probably, bison in the earliest period,” said archaeologist Jeff Rasich of the National Park Service. “Howard Pass is a tundra gate several kilometers wide through which herds of caribou still migrate seasonally from the Western Arctic.”
Despite the extremely difficult climatic conditions, this area, according to scientists, has always been rich in food. The natives called Howard Pass the word “Akutuq” (Akutuq). This was the name of their favorite treat, which they prepared from whipped animal fats, sugar and berries. The snow patterns drawn by the wind on Howard Pass reminded them of this delicacy.
As for the weather, the climatic anti-record was recorded in these places on February 21, 2013. On that day, the air temperature dropped to around minus 43 degrees Celsius, and the wind blew at a speed of about 87 km / h.
And this was not an isolated event. Conditions close to those described were recorded in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. In the wind, the temperature was even lower. Scientists believe that the Eskimos waited in their homes for severe frosts, and then went to the pass in search of icy carcasses that fell from the cold caribou.