Wednesday, August 11, 2010
One for two
When I last checked in we were wondering whether the house pits at Miktsqaaq Angayuk are historic or prehistoric. It turns out that 'housepit 8' is probably late prehistoric in age while 'housepit 6' seems to be a simple depression between houses - not a house at all! I was hoping it was a collapsed house that had been filled with late prehistoric shell midden. But instead we have been finding far older Kachemak style artifacts and none of the banya rock you would expect in a late prehistoric midden. Stratigraphically, a late prehistoric house should be filled with younger and NOT older midden - things should get younger not older towards the surface. And for this reason, I am pretty sure we are digging in a midden and not a house. Still there is great faunal preservation. Yesterday Molly found a harpoon barb (pictured) and the midden is full of periwinkles, and chitons and relatively few cod bones compared to what we found in the 'trench' midden.
In housepit 8 we did not find any artifacts at all, but it had a hearth. For this reason I am confident it was a house and that it is prehistoric in age (no metal or glass). So we dug outside the house and found another shell midden. And this time we found lots of banya rock in the midden - so it looks late prehistoric. Late prehistoric (Koniag era) sites on Kodiak are always full of fire-cracked banya rock. It's starting to look like Molly will have fauna from the Early Kachemak era, Late Kachemak, Koniag, and early Russian era to analyze. She will be able to say something about how Alutiiq people on Womens Bay used shellfish through time.
If you are interested in Molly's reasearch come to the Alutiiq Museum at 7 PM on Thursday night. Molly will be giving a lecture all about what she has learned so far. Patrick