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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Community Archaeology is Underway!

View southwest up Salonie creek from the new 5 by 5 excavation block

Community Archaeology began on Monday.  This is the 19th year of the Alutiiq Museum's Community Archaeology Program examining the Alutiiq seasonal round through time at various sites around Chiniak Bay.

This is our third year excavating at the Kashevaroff Site at the head of Womens Bay (click here and here for previous posts).  This year we have a big crew, and a lot of students are using the dig for field school credit. Catherine West from Boston University is helping to run the excavation and brought students from BU and various other institutions.  We also have a number of university students from the University of Alaska system.  Including our usual local contingent, our core crew is about 15 people strong.

This year we hope to check out the spatial extent of the site and see if we can find anything different from what we found the first 2 years when we focused on a 6 by 6 meter block near the front of the site.  We have opened up a new 5 by 5 meter block over a shallow depression at the southwest end of the site that we hope represents an old house depression.  In 2013 Ryan C (Thank You TerraSond!) did a Ground Penetrating Radar scan of the area and his work hinted at a buried lenticular depression with a possible hearth in the middle.  We also opened up a 2 by 2 meter block near the back of the site.

On Monday we opened everything up and removed old back dirt and Katmai Ash from the excavation blocks, and yesterday we began to dig into the prehistoric deposits in earnest.

Alutiiq people have lived on the site for the last 7000 years.  Prior to about 3500 years we believe there was a lake in front of the site and that Alutiiq hunters used the site as a base camp for hunting seals.  More recently, after the lake had filled in with sediment, an Alutiiq sod house was built on the top of the site.  I have been wondering why an Alutiiq family would have built a sod house so far inland on such a small creek.  Could this house represent an Alutiiq whaler's get away?

What will we find this year!


Go Terriers!

Catherine removing the Katmai Ash

Ariel's bayonet base

GPR showing the cross section of what we hope is a house in our new 5 by 5 excavation block

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