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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Digging Like Badgers. ...

We continue to dig like badgers at the Mitksqaaq Angayuk site as we race towards the finish. I went to the University of Wisconsin - so 'digging like a badger' is the highest compliment while 'digging like a wolverine' is not so good. This is our last week of excavation - we plan on backfilling the site on Friday (we'll need help with this - so if you are interested show up at the back door of the museum bright and early at 8:15 on Friday morning).

Lately, we have had spectacular digging weather. A healthy change from the first 2 1/2 weeks of the excavation! We have managed to move a lot of dirt. Leslie, practically single-handedly, bottomed out in the midden. It turned out to be amazingly deep and for a while there I wondered if we would ever find the bottom. At the bottom she found the 3800 year-old beach.

In the house we have almost removed all of the roof sods from the side rooms. The sideroom attached by a tunnel to the main room had REALLY thick roof sods. In each sideroom we found preserved wood roof beams and it looks like the rooms were still partially upright in 1912 when they were blanketed and partially filled with ash from the Katmai volcanic eruption. As we excavate in the house we continue to point provenience each and every artifact that we find. Exciting discoveries include: old glass bottle tops reworked into hide scrapers, a gunflint, a telescope eye-piece, lots of lead bird shot, buttons, and many pieces of ceramic.

One of the coolest things we found was the preserved front door (top photo). Karen found the door handle still attached. It looks like the door fell into the house after it collapsed. The base of the door seems to mark where the inside of the house begins - it looks like the house had a tunnel or room about 6 feet long leading to the outside. The other photos depict the crew at various other activities: Laura point proveniencing an artifact on the house floor. Amy taking notes while Mark removes roof sods in the sideroom. Amy shooting in an elevation with the transit while Marks holds the stadia rod and Laura and Miriam dig in the foreground. Patrick

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