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Sunday, August 03, 2014

Zombie Holes and Burned Bone

These photos are all from last Thursday.  On that day we had a fairly large crew and we really got down into the lowest mixed up layer of the site - our so designated 'Level 3B'.  We have now bottomed out in a number of squares, and on Friday (post to come) we finally started to move back to the upper levels of the West block (foreground of picture above).

At the bottom of the site there are a number of really large post holes and many of them are filled with gravel.  We found the same sort of post holes at Salonie Mound and the interns that year nicknamed them 'Zombie Holes'.  I had told them that they represented voids created when the wooden posts rotted away, but I had also emphasized that that was my theory and that they were free to come up with their own explanation.  They came up with the theory that zombies had dug them from underground.  Needless to say, but they never found any evidence to back up their assertion.

And I must admit I have always been miffed by the gravel-filled post holes that you also inevitably find in the oldest layers of Kodiak's sites.  The beach sand/gravel is generally really clean and there is a lot of it in these holes.  It would have been a lot of work to carry the gravel up onto the site to fill these holes.  So why did they do it? Maybe for post pack, or are these features not really 'post holes' at all?  I still don't have the answer to that one.  But I don't think Zombies created them either.

Another exciting discovery from Thursday was finding actual burned sea mammal bones from the bottom of the site.  I had suspected that they were hunting sea mammals at the site simply based on the types of artifacts we had been finding - mostly sea mammal hunting gear - but it's nice to be able to say that they were actually roasting sea mammals on the site.  The pieces of sea mammal bone that we have been finding were burned in their fires and calcined.  If they had not been calcined they would have rotted away in the site's acidic soil.


Calcined sea mammal bone

Interns at the screen

Volunteers hard at work removing the bottom layers of the site

Clair's really nice chipped stone point

Natalie contemplates some gravel filled postholes - these holes seem to have been part of a complex of reused holes in a small area.  Note intact ash deposits at bottom in right profile - these were only found in a very few places on the site and represent the volcanic ash falls from the early Holocene.

Some other gravel filled holes - also note how the 'post' cut through the stacked sods seen in profile

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