Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Amak Site Artifacts
This is practically all of the artifacts we found last summer during the Alutiiq Museum's Community Archaeology at the Amak Site. I did not take pictures of the flakes, utilized flakes, a couple of ochre grinders and some worked slate but we did not find relatively many of these artifacts anyway. What we mostly found, relatively speaking, is pictured in the top 3 photos - bayonets and flensing knives (top), whetstones second, and pumice abraders. The bottom 3 photos show the bayonet preforms (unfinished bayonets), some odd pieces (lamp, lineweight for fishing, and a cobble scraper), and the chipped stone tools and one ulu (bottom). We found barely any of the objects in the bottom 3 photos (almost all the preforms were found in a single temporary structure).
The tools we find tell us what people were doing at the site, and judging by what we found it looks like they were doing a lot of hunting. The bayonets would have tipped lances used for killing some sort of sea mammal. The whetstones were probably used for sharpening the bayonets, while the abraders might have been for smoothing the lance shafts. And normally you do not find so many of the slate whetstones which would have been for putting on the final sharp edge to the bayonets.
Since the site would have been at the head of a bay near a salmon stream we did not expect to find so much hunting gear - we expected to find more fishing related gear (netsinkers, lineweights, ulus and cobble spalls). Nor does the site appear to have been a place where people spent much time. We did not find well built structures or much in the way of tools associated with more permanent camps like cobble spalls, u-shaped abraders, flakes, needle abraders, adzes, chipped knives, lamps, hammerstones etc.
Rarely do the tools from a site indicate so clear a story. Normally things are far more muddled with a mix of artifact types. But here at the Amak site it is pretty clear we excavated a temporary hunting camp. Patrick