Gerad Smith

Gerad Smith
Assistant Professor of Anthropology
Department of Anthropology & Geography
BMH 203
(907) 786-1568


  •   Ph.D., Anthropology, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 2020


My area of specialization is archaeology. Within this broad subfield, my research and expertise are in household and landscape archaeology, social complexity, and the Holocene era. Working primarily with ancestral Alaska Dene sites, I am most interested in questions having to do with traditional place names, village sites, ethnogenesis, and ecological relationships. My recent projects have focused on identifying ancestral Dene interactions with Glacial Lake Atna, identifying early potlatch behaviors in central Alaska, and human adaptations there to the Holocene Thermal Maximum. Other projects include the comparison of wolf behaviors and precontact human landscape relationships through geospatial visibility in the Yukon-Tanana Uplands of Alaska. My dissertation utilized data collected from traditional place names, ethnographic information, and oral history to assist in a holistic interpretation of the archaeological record of the Tanana Valley. The significance of this research is that it recognizes regional ancestral Dene presence into the early Holocene, further develops an understanding of the role of place names as a record of past ecological landscapes, and promotes interwoven paths of knowledge between Traditional and Western sciences. I have authored one book summarizing this methodology: The Gift of the Middle Tanana Rowman and Littlefield (2022).

Research Interests

  • Archaeology
  • Household and landscape archaeology
  • Social complexity
  • Holocene era
  • Ethnogeography
  • Co-production of knowledge


For a current list of publications and research, see my ResearchGate site.