Sarah Unkel

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Kansas, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 10245

Approve Date

October 7, 2021

Project Title

Unkel, Sarah (Kansas, U. of) "Paleogenomic Insights on Birnirk Inuit Kinship and Social Organization within the Kugusugaruk Cemetery"

Birnirk Inuit (1300-700BP) burials from the Kugusugaruk site on the Alaskan North Slope provide the rare opportunity to better understand Birnirk Inuit kinship patterns and social organization across multiple generations at the only known, clearly associated Birnirk cemetery. This study will be the first to examine Birnirk Inuit mortuary practices through an interdisciplinary approach by employing ancient DNA methodologies, interpretations of the archaeological record, radiocarbon dating, and ethnohistories gathered from contemporary Inuit communities. The pilot study conducted on DNA samples from six individuals demonstrates that the quality of preservation will permit the proposed analyses required to determine genetic relationships among individuals interred within Mound 1. Paleogenomic data is typically utilized to understand comprehensive migration patterns and population structure throughout the world. This research, however, aims to broaden the horizons of paleogenomic insights through exploration of intra-population social dynamics and kinship relations.