The oil rush on Alaska's fabled North Slope has unearthed more than a treasure trove of "Black Gold" from beneath the frozen Arctic tundra.
The oil rush on Alaska's fabled North Slope has unearthed more than a treasure trove of "Black Gold" from beneath the frozen Arctic tundra. Teams of archaeologists working in the path of the trans-Alaska crude oil pipeline are finding priceless artifacts--some up to 6,000-years old.
The most recent finds -- mostly stone hunting implements--have been dug up north of the Brooks Mountain Range by teams from the University of Alaska working in winter. Most archaeological work on the icy wastes is done in summer; but the latest "dig" was directly in the pipeline's path and the construction teams are pressed by a demanding schedule that could not be delayed.
Besides bearing bitter sub-zero temperatures, the teams had to bring in special equipment to thaw the surface of the frozen earth.
It is believed the artifacts were used by early Alaskan nomads who wandered the North Slope following the migrating herds of caribou.
It is estimated there are about 30 sites of archaeological interest in the region of the Lake Galbraith pipeline construction camp in Northern Alaska. The digs along the route are being funded by the Alyeska Pipeline Service Company--the multi-national consortium established to build, the pipeline. So far the company has spent more than $2-million (about one million pounds sterling) on the work.