Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Yesterday we mostly excavated outside of the house. It had rained hard overnight and the house was a little mucky for careful excavation. But we had plenty to do and find outside of the house. Our biggest discovery of the day is that the site appears to have 'multiple compnents'. In other words, we determined that the house was built into an older site.
Everywhere outside the house we found tiny beads and bits of ceramic probably associated with the inhabitants of the house. We found these historic artifacts in the top 0-5 cm below the 1912 Katmai ash. Below that the excavators started to hit pebbly dark soil and find REALLY OLD artifacts - 3,000 year-old U-shaped abraders, cobble scrapers, red chert flakes, notched stone netsinkers and even a 6,000 year-old microblade core fragment. 'Uh oh', I thought. 'It looks like the Black Kachemak' - shades of virtually every other Community Archaeology dig for the last 11 years. And, yup, I do believe that is what we got.
It looks like there is a 3,000 year old site below the 200 year old house. After people abandoned the nearby Zaimka Mound site it looks like they just moved closer to the beach. We know that prior to about 4000 years ago the ocean partially eroded Zaimka Mound, but by 3,000 years ago they were living on the beach in front of the mound where we are digging today. Then 200 years ago it looks like Alutiiq people returned to the site and dug housepits into the much old deposits. I believe that the house we are excavating had the back half of it dug into the older deposits and that the front half was built up directly onto beach gravels with the walls made from the excavated dirt and sods. Pretty complicated scenario, and we will need to dig a bit more to see if I am actually right.
Photos: Mark on the screen while a USCG cutter cruises by in the background (far left). Second photo is of Jill and Alisha excavating. Third photo is of Amy Margaris and shows where we were excavating yesterday morning on the landward side of the house. Bottom photo is of the crew hard at work.