Another rainy day, but we did manage to uncover a 6000 year-old house. Yesterday I had thought we had a house with roof sods – and that is what we found. I was quite relieved to not be wrong – no nasty surprises this time around.
We uncovered a semi-subterranean house with a bright red ochre floor that had had a thick layer of roof sods on top for insulation. Last year we found the floor of the house in a test pit and dated some charcoal from the floor to a little over 6000 years old. I had remembered the date as 4000 BP (before present), but when we got home this evening and checked the date it was 4000 BC. But while we were excavating the house I had the wrong date in mind, and I was a little miffed that we were not finding the stuff you typically associate with 4000-year-old houses on Kodiak. Also red ochre floors are generally associated with earlier houses. Figuring out that it was actually 6000 years old made sense. It also means we excavated one of the oldest semi-subterranean houses ever excavated on Kodiak – what a pleasant surprise! Parts of such houses have been excavated before but never a clear-cut, undisturbed structure. Usually such houses are at sites where later construction activities have seriously muddled things up.
Our house seems to have been lived in for only a short time and people never lived at the site again. It had a wide doorway facing the ocean and there was a quartz knife, a basalt flake knife, a pumice abrader, and a whetstone right outside the door. Back inside there were a couple of ochre grinders in the back corner and a bunch of basalt flakes at the back. Kind of cool to imagine a guy sitting out front working on things with his knives while he watched the ocean. While inside someone else ground ochre and flaked stone tools. We still have to remove the thin floor and so may find more artifacts. The wide doorway – it may even have been open all along the front - with no sort of entrance tunnel hints that it may have been a warm weather house.
|We start to excavate the house in the morning|
|Uncovering the red ochre floor|
|Sam for scale - what a view!|
|Lunchtime walk to warm up|
|Quartz Knife from in front of the door|
|Basalt flake knife|