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Saturday, February 23, 2013

Summer Field Work Plans

This is the site of our Old Harbor excavation - our future campsite is on the left in the foreground.

It's only February and my summer schedule is already looking packed.  I'll be running a 6 week excavation in Old Harbor from late May through June; helping with an excavation/survey on Chirikof Island way out in the North Pacific in early July; the 3 week Community Archaeology excavation at the Kashevarov Site near town at the head of Womens Bay begins in late July; and finally, in September there is a possible 10 day survey on Afognak Island.  WOW!  But at least I'll be living at home for the Community Archaeology excavation.

At the Old Harbor dig we will actually be excavating 3 different sites slated to be destroyed when they extend the airport runway.  One is a 400 year old village site while the other two are much older  (4000 to 7500 year-old) special purpose sites.  One looks like a temporary camp while the other looks like a place where Alutiiq people smoked meat or fish (see photo below).  

Now that's a positive test pit!  Some sort of Ocean Bay era  (4-7000 year old) smoke processing feature.

Out on Chirikof Island I'll be helping Catherine W test middens and collect fauna samples.  I'll be in charge of camp and logistics.  I'm really looking forward to this project because Chirikof has some awesome beach combing and it is a GREAT place to find glass balls.  But I wonder if the beaches will be covered in Japanese Tsunami debris?

The west side of Chirikof Island - great place to find glass balls.

Deflating archaeological site on Chirikof Island.
Jill and I found the Kashevarov site just last October (click here for post about it), and less than a year later it looks like it will be the focus of our Community Archaeology excavation.  I suspect it will be the same age as the other nearby sites we have excavated over the last 8 years - Salonie Mound, Bruhn Point, and the Amak Site.  Each site has had components dating to about 3-7 thousand years ago.  And yet each of those sites, though less than a mile seperates them all, was a different 'type' of site.  Salonie Mound looks like it was a permanent camp; Bruhn Point was a fish processing site; and finally the Amak Site was a seal mammal hunting and processing site.  What will we find at the Kashevarof Site? Will we FINALLY get some duplication?

Kashevarov Site from the air - the site is on the terrace just above where the oxbow begins (near middle of image - slightly up and to left).

Our DEEP test pit at the Kashevarov Site - the wood tape is 2 meters long and we still did not reach bottom.

The survey on Afognak Island has not been funded yet - keep your fingers crossed - but I am really looking forward to this one.  We would be using inflatable kayaks to survey 3 different parts of the coastline.  Our goal will be to find new sites and check on the condition of the already known sites.  Most of the areas we will be surveying have never been formally surveyed - so I anticipate that we will be finding a lot of new sites. This is also my elk hunting 'stomping grounds', and right after the survey is elk season.  To save the cost of a plane charter I hope to come home on the elk boat. So the hunt and survey would be literally back to back.  My one big worry is that we'll see elk everywhere during the archaeological survey, and then nothing but archaeological sites during the elk hunt.  Patrick

Foul Bay on North Afognak Island.

A prehistoric village site on North Afognak - note HUGE house depressions.

Another archaeological site on North Afognak.

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