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Friday, June 21, 2013

Wrapping Up

Getting started on the midden
Drama view of camp - finally some cool weather

Here in Old Harbor we are wrapping things up.  We have pretty much finished excavating all of the houses at the late prehistoric site, and earlier this week we went back and completed the excavation of the 6200 year-old house.  At the late prehistoric village we dug large portions of 2 more multiroom houses but the floors were very thin and things went very quickly.  All that remains is a couple of test pits in the field above the site and a test in the midden below the house we interpreted as a late prehistoric smokehouse.

Camp without Catherine - She is usually in the pink 'tot spot' chair

The midden we already dug in front of the house was thin with lots of shell, bone tools and a variety of fish and mammal bones.  It looked like a ‘household’ midden – about what you would expect to find in front of a house.  We are now digging into the midden below the smoke-processing feature to see if it is different.  If they were smoke processing one would expect to find more of a focus on the particular species that they are processing, and little else.  So far the midden has been very different.  It is very thick and chock-a-block full of fire cracked rock and charcoal.  But no shell and very little in the way of bone.  It does, however, look like the scrapings from the smokehouse hearths.  Hopefully before we get to the bottom we will find some animal bones.

Final view of the late prehistoric multi room house

At the 6200 year-old house we found the other side of the doorway.  The structure was dug into the hill with six big postholes along the back wall.  It was about 4 meters wide and 2 ½ meters deep with a thick roof of dirt and sods.  In the middle of the front there is a bumpy area with lots of big postholes and inside it is remarkably flat and post-free.  We did not find a hearth – so perhaps they used a lamp for cooking and heat or had a fireplace outside in the front.  It is the most complete and undisturbed Ocean Bay Era Alutiiq house that I have ever excavated!

Dani getting down deep into the midden

I wrote the above at the end of work yesterday, and today we finished with the digging.  Now all that remains is backfilling and packing up.  Yesterday we also lost Catherine to a bad bug bite.  Her whole hand swelled up and she was having a tough time working a trowel.  But in just a few short days we will be joining her in Kodiak!


Giving a presentation on archaeology to the US Marines working on the runway

An endblade - For finding it Dani won a bear paw insignia on her safety suit for artifact of the day

A map of the 6200 year-old house from my notes

A photograph of the 6200 year-old house after excavation

And yet another view

Pottery from the midden

Profiling the midden

1 comment:

Zoya, Patrick, Nora and Stuart said...

Hey - it's Catherine! I am sad to see my little empty chair and wish I was helping you backfill - that midden looks CRAZY deep! Good job, girls!