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Monday, August 06, 2012

One last feature appearing. .. .

The mostly female crew flexes their muscles - and that's 2 Mollys flexing and carrying buckets.

We are getting down near to the bottom of the site on the Community Archaeology dig.  And it looks like we are finding a pretty cool feature.  If you look closely at the bottom photo you can see a round orange rim around a dark/grey area.  The orange represents an old 'in situ' volcanic ash while the dark area in the middle is where the prehistoric inhabitants removed all of the ash down to glacial till and created a large depression over 5 meters in diameter.

Last friday we started to clean up the feature and found 3 different hearths dug into the till at the bottom.  It looks like the depression was used repeatedly as a large outdoor hearth, and it was full of layers of fire-cracked rock, burned sods, red ochre and calcined bone, and charcoal.  We radiocarbon dated the feature last year and it dated to 5500 years old.  The bottom floor is not flat and we have found only one posthole - so it does not appear to have been a house.  And since we have found no evidence for fishing at the site, we think it is some sort of meat (as opposed to fish) processing feature.  We are puzzled as to why they had to remove all the dirt to make a depression first for the hearths.

A 5500 year old meat processing feature is pretty significant because Alutiiq people at that time are supposed to be highly mobile hunter gatherers moving from camp to camp.  They are not supposed to be processing and storing a lot of food.  Anyway, more to come as we process what it all means. We should also have a good photo of the feature by the end of the day.  Patrick

Tatiana shows off a ground slate bayonet that she found.  Bayonets are probably the most common artifact that we find.

Below Leslie shows off a bayonet that broke and then was re-worked ands used as a knife.

The 5500 year-old feature starts to appear. .. .

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