Chugachik Island, Kachemak Bay

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Chugachik Island, Kachemak Bay

by | Nov 25, 2019

Chugachik Island is about 0.5 miles (0.8 km) long, on the northeast shore of Kachemak Bay, on the Kenai Peninsula in Kachemak Bay State Park, about 19 miles (31 km) northeast of Homer, Alaska. The name was first reported in 1848 by Captain Mikhail Tebenkov of the Imperial Russian Navy, as “Ostrov Chugachik”, or “Chugachik Island”.

The island is of archaeological interest, with at least two sites that have been professionally excavated. One site is a midden in which remains of flora and fauna have been recovered among human artifacts, including stone and bone tools, and a cradle made of birch bark. The site was excavated in 1974 and 1977, with radiocarbon dating suggesting occupation around 360 BCE. The second site was excavated in 1982, included three layers of occupation, dating from the early 1st century BCE to a Dena’ina Athabascan occupation estimated to date to the late 19th century. The latter find represents the first known evidence of Dena’ina occupation of the area.

The middens indicated the probable importance of marine shellfish to the people historically inhabiting Kachemak Bay. Shells of whelks, clams, cockles, periwinkles, limpets, moon snails, mussels, barnacles, and urchins were all present in the middens. These were collected by the Dena’ina in large quantities and with some regularity. Today, large quantities of shellfish are still harvested in this area by visitors and local residents when very low tides expose collection areas. Read more here and here. Explore more of Chugachik Island here:

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