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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Some artifacts

Molly with a non-funtional, 'toy' Bayonet

We have completed the first week of Community Archaeology and have been digging into the oldest layers of the site.  The layers we have been excavating date to 6 to 7 thousand years ago.

What's been interesting is how many complete tools, and how little manufacturing debris we have been finding.  Normally you find maybe 50 or 60 flakes and chips of slate or chert before you find a tool of some sort.  But practically every artifact we find is a complete tool, and a great many of them are unbroken.

My explanation for the lack of tool-manufacturing debris is that it was a hunting camp where Alutiiq hunters brought their completed tools.  The manufacturing debris is back at the home base where they made the tools.  We are finding the flake knives, skin-scrapers, knives, and hunting lances that they lost or left behind while they were hunting and butchering sea mammals.

For instance yesterday I found 2 complete tools made of basalt - a scraper and HUGE chipped stone knife.  Basalt is a rock not found on Kodiak and must be imported from the Alaska Peninsula.  So far we have only found 1 flake of basalt, and yet we have the 2 tools.  Clearly, they were not made on site.  We are have found relatively local slate and red chert manufacturing debris.

Like last year we also continue to find 'toy' bayonets.  They are small replicas of bayonets that would not have been functional.  We think they represent the work of young hunters emulating their elders with their lethally functional hunting lances.  Patrick

A complete sideblade - an early knife

Evan with a complete bi point

A REALLY big complete chipped knife made of imported basalt

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