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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Small Site Archaeology in Womens Bay

I'm in Seattle now and in 2 days I present a paper at the Alaska Anthropological Association meetings. I'm in a 'Population Demography' session and my paper (Amy S and Molly O are co-authors) is titled 'Small site archaeology in Women's Bay: A view from the Amak Site, Kodiak Island, Alaska'. Basically I am talking about what we found during the Alutiiq Museum's Community Archaeology dig last summer at the Amak Site. But I had to create a bit of a theoretical slant to the paper to make it fit into a demography session.

Demography is all about modeling prehistoric population change, and archaeologists often simply use the number of radiocarbon dates from different time periods as a proxy for population change. The more radiocarbon dates from say 3000 BP relative to say 5000 BP says the population was higher in 3000 BP. In our paper I argue that small special purpose sites like the Amak Site are more recognizable later in time - hence there are more sites to potentially radiocarbon date, but not necessarily more people on the landscape. Anyway that is the gist of the paper.

I do say a lot more than that, and get to show pretty pictures, but the above is my kicker that allows me to be in the demography session. I am quite glad to be in the demography session because it did force me to think about the site we excavated and the whole prehistoric landscape as a whole in a very different way. I think it is much better than just presenting a blow by blow of what we found.

Anyway, if you are in Seattle come to our talk at the Alaska Anthropological Association meetings hosted by the University of Washington. It will be at the Hotel Deca at 9:40 AM. But if you are stuck on Kodiak - don't worry because I will be adding to the talk and presenting it again at the Refuge 'brown bag series' later on in April (April 18th I believe).

The above pictures are the title slide and slide 18 of my talk. By slide 18 I should be wrapping it up - I only got 20 minutes to present a lot of data! Patrick

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