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Archaeologists find location of early 19thC fort Tlingit people built to resist Russian colonizers

For a century, archaeologists have looked for the remnants of a wooden fort in Alaska – the Tlingit people’s last physical bulwark against Russian colonization forces in 1804. Now Cornell and National Park Service researchers have pinpointed and confirmed its location by using geophysical imaging techniques and ground-penetrating radar.

The Tlingit built what they called Shiskinoow – the “sapling fort” – on a peninsula in modern-day Sitka, Alaska, where the mouth of Kasda Heen (Indian River) meets Sitka Sound at the Sitka National Historical Park. The fort was the last physical barrier to fall before Russia’s six-decade occupation of Alaska, which ended when the United States purchased Alaska in 1867 for $7 million.

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