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Sunday, August 14, 2016

Features, Profiles and Backfilling

East wall profile - Very complicated with pits cutting into pits and ochre-stained floors at bottom

Oddly enough, one of our most significant discoveries at the Kashevaroff Site is that the earliest inhabitants stripped the site, all at once, of sods and dirt, before they built their structures. The structure foundations were then cut directly into the glacial till at the front of the site (nearest the creek). They flattened the floors with blocks of sods, and constructed the super structures - topping them with a sod roofs and circling them with low sod walls.

Inside the structures we found ochre stained floors and artifacts, but outside the structures we found just a thin black, charcoal stained surface everywhere on the till and sterile ash.  This surface extended under the stacked sod walls and linked up with the floors inside the structures.  Basically the black surface represents 'tracked charcoal' after a massive episode of sod and dirt quarrying.  The quarrying appears to have all happened at once and was associated with the construction of the structures.  All of the quarried sods lacked artifacts and charcoal stains - so no had lived at the site before the sod quarrying episode took place.

The extent of the sod quarrying episode is a HUGE discovery.  We have known of the propensity of early Alutiiq peoples to quarry sods, and these early sites are generally a mixed up melange of overlapping sods.  But I have always assumed that the mixing and digging occurred a little at a time, over an extended period of time.  It now seems like it might be a more sporadic but far more intensive activity.


A substantial structure at the very bottom with offset hearth - a house?

A page from my notes about the feature seen above

Pretty darn deep!

And now to put it all back in - it already took 3 days to backfill the main block

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