Article Overview: Boneyard Alaska
A few miles north of Fairbanks, a dig is happening, unearthing treasures from a time long past. Most excavating activities in this region are searching for gold or oil, but they are looking for something even rarer at this dig site. Alaskan gold miner John Reeves has been digging up an unprecedented number of prehistoric bones in his Alaska Boneyard. He’s discovered everything from woolly mammoth to saber-tooth tiger bones. Boneyard Alaska is an American archeological treasure, and the movie documenting this place is equally intriguing.
Why Trust Us When When Reading About Boneyard Alaska
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My Experience With Boneyard Alaska
My son is obsessed with dinosaurs. He recently asked me why I hadn’t written anything about dinosaurs in Alaska for AlaskaExplored.com. It was a good question and one I hope to rectify soon when writing about the dinosaurs found on the North Slope. While researching dinosaurs in Alaska, I came across Boneyard Alaska. A documentary showcasing an archeological dig north of Fairbanks referred to as Boneyard Alaska. We watched the documentary and were surprised by what we saw. The movie chronicles John Reeves’s passion for excavating prehistoric bones on his Alaska property.
While the Alaska Boneyard has no dinosaur bones, the movie, and the place do not disappoint. John Reeves has unearthed a massive collection of mammoth tusks, bones, and other unexpected species. If you’re interested in paleontology, woolly mammoths, or ever dreamed of what a real-life Indian Jones adventure would be like, keep reading, and we’ll tell you all about the film and where to see it!
Table of Contents: Boneyard Alaska
Table of contents
- Why Trust Us When When Reading About Boneyard Alaska
- My Experience With Boneyard Alaska
- Boneyard Alaska
Approximately 2.6 million to 11,700 years ago, the Earth experienced an Ice Age. Alaska’s geography and climate changed dramatically along with the rest of the planet. Ice sheets covered much of the landscape, shaping the terrain and creating a harsh environment.
During the peak of the Ice Age, the Bering Land Bridge emerged, connecting Alaska to Siberia. The land bridge provided a crucial corridor for the migration of various species, including the woolly mammoth. The woolly mammoths, or their bones, are the subject of the documentary film Boneyard Alaska.
Produced by GalcierFilms and Paul Andrew Lawrence, the film follows gold miner John Reeves as he works to excavate these prehistoric bones. Reeves has collected over a hundred thousand specimens, using a water hose to unearth the bones. His massive collection of bones includes a stash of wooly mammoth remains, which include more than just bone.
Boneyard Alaska: The Movie
Paul Andrew Lawrence produced Boneyard Alaska in 2022. The film promotes itself with this slug line: An Alaskan gold miner is unearthing a treasure trove of perfectly preserved bones tens of thousands of years old. What Ice Age secrets lie beneath the permafrost, waiting to be discovered?
John Reeves discussed Paul Lawrence’s filming on his property on the Seth Rogen Podcast. He explains that he gave the filmmaker complete access to Boneyard Alaska, and the work done there. Reeves refers to the filmmaker as a true artist.
In the film, you get to see John Reeves’s process to unearth the artifacts. You also get a glimpse of the massive collection of bones accumulated over the years. The film follows a group of researchers as they explore Boneyard Alaska. The scientists are like kids in a candy store for most of the film. They have traveled worldwide to see the Boneyard and are all intrigued by the findings.
Where Can You Watch the Movie:
Boneyard Alaska was produced in 2022 but continues to have quite the following on social media. Recent interviews on popular podcasts, like the Joe Rogan Experience, have kept the film in the spotlight. We watched the one-hour and fourteen-minute movie on Vimeo. You can check the trailer out above, and if you want to rent the movie, you can for $6.99 on Vimeo.
What Are They Finding in Boneyard Alaska?
Many treasures have been unearthed on Reeve’s property and are highlighted in the film Boneyard Alaska. The wooly mammoth may be the star of the show, but they’ve excavated several other species as well:
An extinct species of mammoth that lived during the Pleistocene until its extinction in the Holocene epoch. It was one of the last in a line of mammoth species, beginning with the African Mammuthus subplanifrons in the early Pliocene.
Steppe Bison is an extinct species of bison that was once found on the mammoth steppe. The Steppe Bison were similar to the bison we see today but with much larger horns. Here is a fun fact about one famous Steppe Bison discovered in Alaska, which is displayed at the University of Alaska Museum.
A gold miner discovered a perfectly mummified Steppe Bison North of Fairbanks in 1979. He named the specimen Blue Babe. Blue Babe made its way to a research team at the university, who prepared it for display. Before displaying the Steppe Bison, they removed a piece of mummified flesh from its neck. They stewed the mummified meat and ate it.
Sabor Tooth Tigers
Smilodon is a genus of felids belonging to the extinct subfamily Machairodontinae. It is one of the best-known saber-toothed predators and prehistoric mammals. Although commonly known as the saber-toothed tiger, it was not closely related to the tiger or other modern cats.
Mastodons inhabited North and Central America from the late Miocene up to their extinction at the end of the Pleistocene 10,000 to 11,000 years ago. Mastodons are the most recent members of the family Mammutidae, which diverged from the ancestors of elephants at least 25 million years ago.
Short Face Bears
Arctodus is an extinct genus of short-faced bear that inhabited North America during the Pleistocene. There are two recognized species: the lesser short-faced bear and the giant short-faced bear.
Panthera spelaea, also known as the cave lion or steppe lion, is an extinct Panthera species that most likely evolved in Europe after the third Cromerian interglacial stage, less than 600,000 years ago.
Yeah, this one surprised me too, but I guess there were camels in Alaska at one point. Fossils from Yukon and Alaska tell scientists that western camels made their way north during a relatively warm, interglacial period of the last Ice Age. However, when they arrived in the Arctic, the Bering Land Bridge was flooded and kept them from migrating to Asia like their cousins did.
Boneyard Alaska on The Joe Rogen Experience
500,000 Tusks Worth Up To $1 Billion Dumped in NY River? Fact or Fiction?
On a recent appearance on The Joe Rogen Experience, John Reeves mentioned a possibility that the American Museum of Natural History had dumped mammoth tusks in New York’s East River. This story snowballed on the internet and finally reached the pages of the Daily Mail Newspaper in London. The Daily Mail published a misleading account of Reeve’s interview, it stated that there is potentially $1 billion worth of tusks to be found in the East River. All the story’s traction led people to scuba dive into the East River in search of the sunken treasure. The Anchorage Daily News did a great job chronicling the story and explaining how it progressed into a real-life safety concern for the Coast Guard working the waters. The East River is a busy waterway, and scuba diving in the area requires a special permit.
Conclusion: Go Watch Boneyard Alaska
John Reeve’s Boneyard outside Fairbanks, Alaska, is described by paleontologists as an exceptional find, with a remarkable quantity of well-preserved bones. The Alaska Boneyard may hold much historical and scientific data for researchers to explore, but it also raises many questions. As of now, the reason why there is such a significant accumulation of Ice Age bones at this single site remains a mystery.
Throughout Boneyard Alaska, John Reeves refers to the bones as his treasures. I couldn’t agree more after watching the film and reading about his discoveries. In the film, Reeves talks about a tusk he uncovered a few days prior. He explains that the tusk was part of a wooly mammoth that walked the earth 23,000 years before the first pyramid was built. That humbling notion is one of many that make Boneyard Alaska so fascinating, and it explains why the film and the work being done outside Fairbanks are resonating with so many viewers online.