I came back a few days early from hanging with the family in Anchorage to do a quick 2 day archaeological survey on the north end of Kodiak. North end of Kodiak means spruce trees! And most of our survey was conducted under the canopy of these very large trees.
Since we were on a north facing slope and under spruce trees we had a serious problem with frozen soil. We dig test pits to see if what looks like a site on the surface is actually an archaeological site. For one test pit that we absolutely had to finish, we had to use a hatchet to hack through the dirt. Needless to say, but this is not the way I like to dig test pits.
Another 1/2 day of the survey was spent looking for an old mine shaft adit. I had found the mine shaft on another survey last year, but we later learned there was an adit associated with the mine. So this year I wanted to find the adit and see if it was associated with an old camp.
The adit was very difficult to find and if we had not known it was there I doubt very much we would have ever found it. The mine was from around 1908 and all the trees had grown up on the tailings from digging the mine. There nothing but a little hole into the moss - see below.
But once you looked inside there was a scary, long tunnel. We did not go inside, but supposedly it extends for hundreds of feet into the hillside. We did not find a camp, nor did we find any gear or trash associated with the mining activity. I guess these were pretty tidy miners! Patrick