Sites & cities that bear the name of Cape Espenberg

Cape Espenberg

Today in : United States of America
First trace of activity : ca. 25th century B.C.E
Last trace of activity : ca. 13th century C.E

Description : Cape Espenberg is a cape located on the Seward Peninsula in Alaska, on the Chukchi Sea coast. Cape Espenberg points northwards, 42 mi NW of Deering, Kotzebue-Kobuk Low. On its southeastern side there is the small Goodhope Bay, an inlet of the Kotzebue Sound. Named in 1816 by Lt. Otto von Kotzebue (1821, p. 236) for Dr. Karl Espenberg, a surgeon who accompanied Captain (later Admiral, IRN) Adam Johann von Krusenstern on his voyage around the world in 1803–06. Over 4,000 years of prehistory are revealed at Cape Espenberg, as documented by archaeological surveys since the 1950s when J.Louis Giddings visited the Cape. Research by the National Park Service has included survey by Jeanne Schaaf in 1986 and excavations led by Roger Harritt in 1988 and 1989. The Espenberg dunes contain small sites as well as extensive villages with dozens of house depressions. The cultural chronology of the Cape is constructed on the basis of >120 radiocarbon ages. Since 2007, several research projects were funded by the National Science Foundation, led by John F. Hoffecker, Owen K. Mason and Claire M. Alix. The dunes contain a remarkable record of architectural history and cultural change in relation to climate change. The earliest occupations at the Cape ca. 2500 calibrated BCE record the first maritime adaptions along the north Alaska coast. In 2011, archaeologists found metal artifacts at Cape Espenberg, including a cast bronze buckle, very likely smelted in East Asia, either Siberia or farther South. The finds were discovered adjacent to a house inhabited by the Birnirk people, the presumed ancestors of the modern Inuit people. The metal objects were not locally cast, based on metallurgical analyses (X-ray fluorescence) by Purdue University Assistant Professor H. Kory Cooper. The metal was deposited at Cape Espenberg at least 500 years before sustained contact with Europeans in the late 1700s. While the metal is not directly dated, the "buckle" was attached to a leather strap that yielded a calibrated radiocarbon date of ca AD 1200.

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