International Association of Specialists on Russian America

Background and Statement of Need

The rich history of daily life in Russia's colonial settlements in America is poorly understood and has been only marginally addressed in school curricula and public interpretation. Warming relations between Russia and the U.S. over the last two decades, and the development of a Beringian Heritage International Park Program by the National Park Service, have promoted increasing cooperation between Alaskan and Siberian archaeologists on such topics as prehistoric human migration, trade, and cultural relationships in the Bering Strait region. Recent years have also seen collaboration on blockbuster museum exhibitions that have featured important artworks, religious artifacts, and treasures of the royal family. Most recently, investigators from the State of Alaska and East Carolina University collaborated with NOAA scientists on the investigation of the Kad'yak (1851-1860), the first Russian-American Company shipwreck to be discovered in U.S. waters.

In the context of broader studies, there has been far less focus on the archaeology and public interpretation of daily life in the 18th and 19th century settlements of Siberia and Alaska. Moreover, there has been a general scarcity of work in historical archaeology in the arctic and sub-arctic when compared with other regions. IASRA seeks to promote communication and cooperation between Russian and American scholars to better understand and interpret this aspect of Russian America. IASRA seeks to build an international community that includes students, investigators, cultural resource managers, and Native American groups influenced historically through Russian contact. Strong historical ties between the colonial Russian settlements in the United States and those in the Irkutsk region of central Siberia, along with a rich body of universities, museums, and cultural institutions, make this city an ideal partner for the cultivation of collaborative educational and research opportunities.


 Introduction & Summary of Activities: 2004-2009

  Irkutsk / History

  IASRA Goals


  Sponsors & Hosts