David Yesner

Professor, Retired
Department of Anthropology
BMH 209

(907) 786-6845


  • Ph.D., Anthropology, University of Connecticut, 1977


Dr. Yesner's main interests are in environmental archaeology, especially zooarchaeology, in ecological anthropology generally, and in hunting and gathering societies. He has worked in various areas of North America, including New England and the Midwest, as well as in Cyprus, but his main areas of interest include the circumpolar region, especially Alaska, the Russian Far East and southern South America. Recent projects have included archaeological excavations in a number of locations in southcentral Alaska, the Russian Far East, and Argentine Tierra del Fuego.

Currently, Dr. Yesner is involved in three major projects. The first is the 12,000-year-old Broken Mammoth site near Big Delta, Alaska, the site of a project ongoing since 1989. Excellent preservation of animal bone and organic artifacts at this site has made it unique among Paleoindian sites in northern North America, and has allowed an opportunity to reconstruct in detail the lifeways of the earliest colonizers of eastern Beringia (and North America). The second site is the Historic Knik Townsite near Wasilla, Alaska, a large Gold Rush Era community composed of both Euro-American settlers and Dena'ina Athapaskans (Alaska Natives). Excavations of dwelling and storage features at this site is allowing reconstruction of the nature of Native-white interactions in southcentral Alaska from the time of Russian contact to the turn of the century. The third site is the Boisman II site near Vladivostok in the Russian Far East, where Alexander Popov (Director, Russian Far East National University Museum) has been conducting excavations for several field seasons, now joined by student crews from UAA. This Early Neolithic (6500 BC) coastal site has produced a series of elaborate human burials with Eskimo affinities, as well as faunal remains demonstrating the earliest maritime subsistence (including whaling) in the Russian Far East. Students are welcomed to participate in any of these projects.

Research Interests

  • Environmental archaeology
  • Human ecology
  • Hunter-gatherers
  • Circumpolar North
  • Alaska
  • South America.
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