Visit the northernmost, and one of the oldest-inhabited, cities in the U.S.

Utqiagvik, the northernmost community in the U.S., is also one of the oldest-inhabited town sites. At the Birnirk Archaelogical Site just a few miles from town, archaeological evidence of human habitation goes back as far as 1,000 to 1,500 years ago. The Birnirk culture existed from about 500 to 900 A.D. Evidence of the culture can be seen at this site in the form of 16 dwelling mounds. The mounds reach up to 14 feet tall. They were formed by the construction of new houses on top of the ruins of other structures over hundreds of years. Driftwood and whalebones frame the walls of the dwellings. Tools and other artifacts recovered from the site are used to compare artifacts from other sites and learn more about the Iñupiat culture in Alaska and Canada. Similar tools and artifacts have been found from the Russian Far East to northern Canada. The Birnirk site in Utqiagvik is a key link between prehistoric cultures and their modern descendants.

Visitors cannot go inside and around the mounds, but people can go to the site to look at the ancient mounds overlooking the beach.


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This unique opportunity should be on every traveler’s bucket list.

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There are a number of places in the area on the National Register of Historic Places, visit them all!

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