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Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Week 3 Recap

Getting sloppy - and it was 'supposed' to be a sunny day

At the end of week 3 we got a little rain, found some intact and deeply buried old deposits, and finished with the big smoke processing pit.  Enough said about the rain - no one likes to dig in the rain, and the pictures tell the whole story.

The smoke processing pit is probably the most exciting discovery of this year's excavation.  While we have found and excavated a number of these features in the past, we have never found them associated with notched cobbles.  This an Ocean Bay II feature (around 4-5 thousand years old), and it is closely associated with a tool type never found in association with these pits before.

We think the inhabitants might have been using the line weights to hold down some sort of snare or net to catch seals which they then dispatched with their ground slate bayonets. They then dried the meat over hot rocks and smudge fires kept at low heat by the judicious addition of sod blocks. We've even found the calcined remains of sea mammal bones. The smoke processing feature does not appear to have been a formal feature, but rather an area of the site repeatedly used for the same purpose.  We found no post holes associated with the feature.  It is also completely different from anything we found at the other end of the site where we found none of the notched cobbles in a much larger 12 by 6 meter excavated area.

In the main excavation we have finally found some intact older deposits from the very bottom of the site.  Most of the older deposits had been stripped up and disturbed by the later inhabitants of the site when they quarried sods to build structures or slow down smoke-processing fires.  The lower deposits seem to date to the 6-7000 year-old range and we are finding them along the entire east edge of our main excavation block adjacent to where we excavated last year.  This is where the inhabitants brought the sods they quarried elsewhere on the site.  At the West end of our main block where they were quarrying sods the deposits are less than a meter deep.  On the other hand, on the East side where they dropped the sods the deposits are much deeper.  We figure based on an examination of last year's profiles that there is up to 40 cm of the older deposits along the East edge of the excavation.

The older deposits contain many more chipped stone tools (beautiful bipoints!) and we are still hopeful we might find an intact structure of some sort. There are certainly more post holes!   Patrick

Weathered ash gets slick quick!

Note the puddles in the units

An actual intact living surface (LS4) beach gravel stained with ochre and charcoal

Leslie's adze from the lowest levels of the site

Mapping the big smoke pit feature

Students mapping feature

All done - now let's see what is under it

Alexandria's incised bayonet base

Alex's chipped bipoint from the lowest levels of the site

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