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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Off to Karluk Lake

Hopefully, if all goes well, I'll be flying off to Karluk Lake this afternoon to conduct an archaeological survey. Mark R, Rose K and Aubrey M will be joining me on the survey. We will start our survey at the mouth of the small creek in the foreground of the top photo. I took this picture last spring and that's Karluk Lake in the background. Our goal will be to map all the housepits that we find and get charcoal from their hearths to radiocarbon date. Ultimately, we will be able to say about how many people were living on Karluk Lake and River through time and exactly where they chose to place their villages at any one moment in time.

We'll finish our survey near the outlet to the lake in the second picture. I took this photo last fall returning from a hunting trip, and yes those white lines are all bear trails! In the fall the bears are attracted to the river to feed on all the salmon coming up the river. That's also what attracts people to the river, and if you look closely at this photo you can see prehistoric weirs Alutiiq peoples used to channel and trap fish. The weirs are those little upside down triangles you see in the river. This part of the river is also lined with housepits. A couple of hundred years ago this was some prime real estate. Actually it still is - only these days people just visit the lake, and stay in cabins and tents. There aren't any modern villages up there anymore.

Stay tuned - in a week and a half I'll be back to report on what we found. Patrick

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