From Land to Sea, or Sea to Land: Reconciling Key Features of Terrestrial and Maritime Landscapes

2 months ago
From Land to Sea, or Sea to Land: Reconciling Key Features of Terrestrial and Maritime Landscapes Brinnen Carter Sitka National Historical Park National Park ...

English subtitle

Speaker 1: All right, next person up is Brendan
Carter, from Land to Sea or Sea to Land, recognizing
key features of terrestrial and maritime landscapes.
Brendan is the chief of resources at Shuka
National Historical Park, the only national
park service unit to commemorate Tlingit resistance
European colonial expansion, the expansion
of Czarist Russia, and the living native culture
of Southeast Alaska.
Previously, he was the Cultural Resource Program
Manager at the Delaware Water Gap national
recreation area, and a museum specialist and
archaeologist at the southeast archaeological
He's always studied the archaeology of submerged
sites, and has advanced degrees in nautical
archaeology, and pre-historic underwater archaeology.
Speaker 2: All right.
You'll have to excuse me, I changed my presentation
somewhat between when I submitted the abstract,
and the first version of the presentation
until now, so I decided it would be deadly
boring to just talk about from land to sea,
or sea to land, so I couched it, and Alaska
Maritime Cultural Landscapes.
You'll see me tacking ... I'm going to essentially
be blown between 2 winds, the method and theory
wind, and the sort of practical, here's the
landscape wind.
You'll see me tack back and forth through
the presentation, so stay with me, please.
Thinking about this, I wanted to start with
a definition, because they're all often good
to start with.
I found our National Park Service definition
of what a cultural landscape is, and I just
wanted to go over it for review.
It's a geographic area that's either associated
with a historic event activity or person,
or exhibiting some other cultural value or
aesthetic value.
You have to meet those basic characteristics.
I also went back and reviewed Westerdol, and
he sees it kind of in a more ... It's still
focused on the past, but it clearly refers
to ongoing cultural values.
Note that in its definition, it's focused
on remains.
The other thing I picked up in this is there
may be a subtly in the Swedish in the word
remains, that doesn't translate well into
If anybody knows Swedish, and can look at
that word remains, it may have connotations
that aren't effectively brought over into
the English.
It may have as much to do with ethnographic
remains, as archaeological and architectural
remains, which were material as well.
Seem to very interested in.
Now I'm tacking back to Alaska, or the practical
Alaska's huge, it's 1.7 million square kilometers.
Traditionally, Alaska's population has been
really tiny.
The first accurate population numbers, well
they may or may not be accurate, are from
1880, when they did the census.
There were a little over 33 thousand people
in Alaska at that point.
Even today, there are only 710 thousand people,
and the scale there is deceiving, it's about
twice the size of Texas, so keep that in mind.
One of the things that a small population
in a large area yields, is a premium on inner-community
awareness and relationships.
Also, a high degree of mobility, and trusted
connections across that mobile area, so that
you can go a long distance, and know somebody
in the community that you go to that's a trusted
person, that can put you up, feed you, that
type of thing.
I didn't really appreciate that until I moved
there, because from the lower 48, you don't
really have ... Your type of community's different.
It tends to be much more geographically centralized.
You have groups of friends in a local community.
Your community doesn't necessarily extend
over vast distances into other communities,
not necessarily.
Another thing, is that trade is assumed to
be widespread and relatively regular.
There's a regular round to Alaskan life, where
you move from place to place, from a winter
quarters, to a summer subsistence camp, and
so on.
Subsistence resources on the other hand, are
highly territorial, and vigorously defended.
In other words, you may have people in other
communities that you visit, but when it comes
down to the resources you want to harvest
for your subsistence, those are very territorial
in nature.
My objectives of this is to show that Alaska
is a cultural landscape, to show that maritime
Alaska is a Maritime Cultural Landscape overlaying
multiple marine ethnographic landscapes, and
to show that the most important aspects of
maritime cultural landscapes are overall historical
significance and physical integrity, not individual
landscape characteristics, which I think are
more units of analysis, rather than actual
I was going to do a little overview, but I'll
skip that.
This is back on the theoretical side of things.
I was really interested in this idea of cognitive
landscapes, that Westerdal went into.
I don't know ... Has anyone ever used Google
Do you guys know what that is, does anyone
know what that is?
When you punch terms into Google, it automatically
shows you a list that you can pick from.
That's Google Suggest, and there's a great
little program online called SEER, that will
take 2 Google Suggest terms, and compare them,
and show you the relationship between the
It's really useful for marketing, because
it allows you, as a marketer, to figure out
what people are thinking of, or what people
are looking for, when you put a particular
word in there and search for it.
I thought this would be a great little tool
to figure out what the connections are between
cultural landscapes and maritime landscapes.
I started using SEER to see if I could figure
out what those relationships were.
The first thing I did, is I compared cultural
landscapes, and maritime landscapes.
What things pop out at you right away, there's
no relationship.
People who are looking for cultural landscapes
are not looking for maritime landscapes, and
people who are looking for maritime landscapes
aren't looking for cultural landscapes.
That shows me, or I would conclude from that,
that it's not an overlapping set.
There's not much discussion there, there's
not much cognition in the general public about
the connection between maritime landscapes
and cultural landscapes.
The other interesting thing here, if anybody
here is interested in a job, you notice the
most common thing that people are looking
for when they look for maritime landscapes
is services.
You want to start a contract business, I would
go into maritime landscape services.
Like you might imagine, if you think about
Westerdal, and Swedish archaeology, maritime
landscapes have a very high prominence in
Swedish archaeology.
I compared Swedish archaeology and maritime
landscapes, and we got a little bit of a connection.
It's what you might expect.
Less connection from Swedish archaeology to
maritime landscapes, but quite a bit the other
I then looked at the Maritime Sanctuary Program,
and the National Register Program.
You can see that there is some connection
there, but about the same that you see for
Swedish archaeology.
Here, this where it becomes very interesting.
Where's Hans?
I thought, Alaska and Hawaii are kind of twin
states, way out there in the Pacific.
We have a lot of cultural connections.
I thought I'd do that, and you can start to
see there's a much stronger relationship than
Alaska and Hawaii.
Between the concept between maritime landscapes,
and Hawaiian and Alaskan archaeology.
That's an important point.
I wanted to back check my information, because
you start using some of these tools, you don't
know what the hell you're doing sometimes.
I checked archaeology and nautical archaeology
against each other, and yeah, this kind of
makes senses.
People are interested in jobs, they're interested
in what the salary is, and they're interested
in how to get a degree.
My sort of off the cuff interpretation of
this was, everybody's got to make a living,
and can I make a living doing either nautical
archaeology or archaeology?
With that in mind, I just wanted to review
this definition we've already seen it.
Is Alaska a cultural landscape?
It's a geographic area, that's absolutely
true, I should probably catch up here.
Let's see, it's associated with a historic
event, I thought I'd put the check in there
that bought Alaska.
7.2 million dollars.
It's funny, I live in Sitca now, and the United
States paid about 200 thousand dollars extra,
over 7 million dollars, because there was
an ice plant in Sitca, that was the only source
for ice for San Francisco, up until the purchase.
The Russians had been supplying ice for San
Francisco, and it was a very lucrative market,
They paid an extra 200 thousand for Alaska,
just because of that.
It's also associated with the resumption of
Manifest Destiny, and the Gold Rush, the western
pacific exploration, and also whaling.
We've already talked about that somewhat.
Also, the expansion of fishery.
It's definitely associated with an activity,
a very important activity.
It's also associated with one of the most
important diplomats in American history, William
He was the visionary leader that had the idea
that they could buy Alaska from Russia.
One of the things that he's credited with
is reinvigorating the Manifest Destiny, or
the prominence of America on the world stage
after the Civil War, and Alaska played a major
role in that.
I think I've shown Alaska as a cultural landscape.
I wanted to go over kind of what that landscape
looks like.
I went in, and sort of blocked out the area
of Alaska where you didn't have a major influence
of the sea, and you can see both from the
amount of area that is on the coast, and connected
by the ocean, and also the major river systems
in Alaska, that clearly, a majority of Alaska,
if not two thirds of Alaska is all some type
of Maritime Influence Landscape.
That really overlays with a number of language
groups, and ethnographic landscapes, that
were very prominent as late as the mid 1700's
and many of them continue today.
About 30 percent of Alaska's population is
native Alaskan, and most of the folks still
strongly associate with these basic language
groups, and cultural groups.
The cultural landscape of Alaska is overlayed
on these ethnographic landscapes.
When I got to Alaska, we had a couple of projects
cued up for funding.
One was the Russian Bishop's house, cultural
landscape report.
The other was ... Actually we only had that
I thought that it would be deadly boring to
just study the Russian Bishop's house in Sitca,
Alaska as a cultural landscape, because it's
about an acre of land and 3 buildings.
There are 3 buildings in a little cluster.
I said why not repurpose that, and talk more
broadly about what the ecclesiastical landscape
of Russian America would look like, and how
would it contribute to the use of the Russian
Bishop's house in Sitca, because we're charged
with the studying, we're the only unit in
the park service that studies Russian America,
so why not use the cultural landscape money
that we get, and have a broader focus.
I right now got a number of folks that are
looking at Russian American Orthodox landscapes
all across Alaska, and how they're connected,
and how they contribute to the significance
of the Russian Bishop's house, and the landscape
in Sitca.
The other thing that I was very interested
in was expansion of the commercial landscape,
and we funded a Maritime Cultural Landscape
project to study the commercial landscape
of Russian America, and the expansion of Russian
companies into Alaska, and that includes significant
resources like the Erskin House and the Berinoff
Castle in Sitca.
They both have parallels, so they're going
to end up being merged together.
I'm going to tack back, and talk about the
various things that you would find in a typical
cultural landscape.
These are basically characteristics, so I
don't think I have to go through them too
intensively, and they're straight from landscape
line, so you can look them up.
I'd also mentioned that the characteristics
of the landscape had changed, so there's an
evolutionary aspect to it that's important
to recognize.
That means that we can evolve into something
else, we can talk about something else if
we want to.
I wanted to figure out where maritime landscapes
fits into this broad NPS perspective.
The important thing here is there's some things
that change, and there's some things that
stay the same, and I wanted to use this as
an example in Sitca.
This is the development of Sitca early on.
That area there is from 1804, and is 1867,
so you can see a development of a commercial
landscape here, but with elements of it changing,
and elements staying the same.
I think that's important to recognize.
This is just a brief review of Westerdal's
Here's the nuts and bolts of the theory part
of it.
I tried to figure out how these could be merged
into some sort of system that would work for
Maritime Cultural Landscapes, using characteristics
from cultural landscapes, and some of them
maritime cultural landscape features that
Westerdal does.
You have natural features and systems, you
could work that as maritime ecosystems and
Land use is fishing grounds, coastal industry.
Cultural traditions, what Westerdal would
call cognitive landscape would be maritime
traditions, and maritime ethnography.
You could use circulation, has kind of a special
meaning and nautical terms, they would be
maritime routes and water-site circulation.
Westerdal would call those network of sailing
Topography, essentially we can go through
this, I can give you my presentation so you
can review them at your leisure.
There are some specific sea terms that I think
need to be included.
Things that are a part of a maritime landscape,
that aren't typically talked about in cultural
Those are celestial features.
What a star field looks like at sea, because
it's critical for navigation and way finding,
and it has a special meaning in the pacific
islands where there's different systems of
You need to have a special category for winds,
waves, currents, and ice.
Those are typically used as well for navigation,
but are also special conditions at sea.
You also need to have some sort of special
consideration of weather, because weather
makes all the difference when you're at sea.
With that, I wanted to sort of switch back
and talk about significance and integrity.
I think significance and integrity are as
important, or more important than what I talked
about before, because the characteristics
are really ontological terms, and aren't really
a substitute for the actual resources you
see in the field.
At some point in the future, you'll see some
sort of updating of the Russian American NHL
theme study to incorporate ecclesiastical
landscapes and commercial landscapes of Russian