Montana Creek Fish Trap


This basketry-style trap was discovered in 1989 and excavated in 1990-91. The top section of the trap was washing away. It was recovered immediately by anthropologists from the University of Alaska Southeast and the Alaska State Museum. Jon Loring, Robert Betts and Greg Chaney excavated the trap in 1991. The cylindrical trap was crushed into an oval shape from burial. It was bent at the back; the back of the trap was gone. Basketry-style traps are rarely found in an archaeological context because they were removed from the stream after the fishing season for repair and storage. This trap was unusually well preserved due to its quick burial and the high iron content of the surrounding soils. No other ancient basketry-style traps have been conserved on the Northwest Coast.

Object Information

Date Created:



The area where this trap was found traditionally belonged to the Auk Tlingit and their ancestors. The trap has been in the care of the Juneau-Douglas City Museum since 2005 and working with the Alaska State Historic Preservation Office to add the trap to the museum's permanent collection.





Place of Creation/Discovery:

Montana Creek near the Mendenhall River


split hemlock, spruce branches, spruce roots.


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