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Sunday, August 14, 2016

Some Final Week Discoveries

A perfect sideblade made of translucent chert

We are all done with the digging at the Kashevaroff Site.  As usual it all ended with a rush and we made our biggest discovery on the final day of the excavation - 1 or 2 substantial structures at the very bottom of the site that appear to represent houses. 

During the final week as we dug down into the oldest layers of the site we encountered 2 large pit features that caused a great deal of confusion.  Initially I thought they represented one large feature, but when we excavated the units in between them they did not connect up.  One of the pits truncated the other and we ended up with what I called the Mastercard Symbol - 2 overlapping circles. 

The pits appear to represent smoke-processing features and were full of inter bedded layers of gravel, sods, and charcoal.  In one of the pits we even found some fish bone.  So there was some fish processing going on at the site.  But most of the tools we found were sideblades for cutting up meat, and 'bone wedges' for splitting sea mammal bone to get at the marrow, and lances for killing sea mammals.  So clearly still a lot of sea mammal hunting and processing going on at the site.  However, it also is clear that the oldest inhabitants at the site were doing a lot more than just sea mammal hunting.

Under the pits we found a continuous living surface and 2 large features.  There was some additional confusion because the overlying pits cut into the older features, but we figured it all out in the end. One of the features was circled by large postholes, had a circular trench inside the outer postholes, and a hearth.  It looks like it was covered by a substantial roof of dirt and sods (more on these features in a later post).  Beside the hearth we found numerous sideblades and a small lamp. 

Unlike in the upper and more recent layers at the site (where there seems to have been a focus of hunting and processing sea mammals), in the older layers at the bottom of the site we found a much more diverse inventory of tool types and a great deal of tool manufacturing debris.  Clearly the inhabitants were spending more time at the site - and not just visiting for the day.  Patrick

A fish bone spine!  So not just ALL sea mammal harvesting going on

Leslie found the lamp by the hearth of the house feature we uncovered on the final day of excavation

Another sideblade - these started to show up fast and furious near the bottom of the site

Molly's awesome picture of Ryan and his broken adze

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