Archeology on Ice exhibit at Marquette Regional History Center displays unique artifacts from Alaska

MARQUETTE — A traveling exhibit is on display at the Marquette Regional History Center, and you still have some time to check it out before the end of the year.

“Archeology on Ice” is a traveling exhibit that showcases unique artifacts preserved within ancient ice that is now melting. Glacial archaeologists have a small window of time to find artifacts before the ice completely melts and the artifacts deteriorate.

Some of these artifacts are thousands of years old, including artifacts such as birch bark, which would have deteriorated very quickly if not for the ice.

The exhibit comes from the former director of the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology at the University of New Mexico, who is now a Marquette resident.

“The key researcher is Doctor James Dixon. After working on this for over ten years, he semi–retired and moved to Marquette,” said Jo Wittler, Curator for the Marquette Regional History Center. “He came to us and said, ‘Hey, this is a project I’ve worked on, and the exhibit is traveling.’ So we thought it was a really great fit for our region, even though it’s Alaska. We kind of tied it into local archaeology and the time of the glaciers.”

The Marquette Regional History Center believes this traveling exhibit will be of great interest to the local community. The rich history found in these artifacts tells a fascinating story, and it also serves as a look into the future as glaciers continue to melt.

“I think a lot of people around here are interested in Alaska,” said Wittler. “And a lot of people are interested in archaeology, what you might see and find, and our earliest history of people here. This exhibit really ties all that together, and it’s a really fascinating look at what was here and how things are changing.”

“Archeology on Ice” will remain on display at the Marquette Regional History Center through December 28. The exhibit is sponsored by Eagle Mine and the Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition.

Researcher Doctor James Dixon will be speaking about the exhibit at Science on Tap at Ore Dock Brewing Company on December 12 from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m.