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Friday, July 26, 2013

Community Archaeology Week Wrap Up

Small multiroom house - 300 year old seasonal fish camp

The first week of community archaeology is history and we have already excavated a house.  Generally  we dig and dig and finally uncover the feature of the dig near the end of the project.  But not this year. - this year we had a house waiting for us directly beneath the Katmai ash.  We finished with the house the day before yesterday and have spent the last 2 days tearing down the walls and figuring out the site's stratigraphy (how all the different layers are related to each other).

Today we found a grooved splitting adze in the house wall.  Such adzes are only found in late prehistoric sites and were used to split logs for making planks.  The find confirms that the small multiroom house is indeed from the late prehistoric period.  Dani also found a small chipped point in the house wall, but this point stylistically is clearly older than a 1000 years.  It looks like the inhabitants dug up the dirt from around the house and built up the walls, and in doing so they dug up older material.  It looks like an older 'Kachemak' era component has been mixed in with the late prehistoric component.

We have also dug through a 4000 year old weathered volcanic ash layer and found another older occupation at the site.  Ian was the first to dig down to this layer and was rewarded with a battered bayonet. Bayonets are usually used to spear marine mammals, but it looks like this one was used to spear fish in the creek and got battered on the rocks.  He also found a saw and snapped bayonet blank.  Both are artifacts characteristic of the 'Ocean Bay II' era on Kodiak.  So we certainly got something to look forward to when we get below our 'layer 2' (the weathered 4000 BP ash).

Earlier in the summer we excavated another late prehistoric multiroom house at Old Harbor (click here),  and it is striking how different that house is from the one we excavated this week at the Kashevaroff Site.  This week's house is tiny in comparison and lacks internal features.  It really does look like the site was a seasonal fish camp while what we excavated at Old Harbor was something more.


Lunch down by the river

Incised battered bayonet over 4000 years old - probably used to spear fish

Small chipped point - probably on the order of 2 to 3 thousand years old

Grooved splitting adze found in the wall of the late prehistoric house

Another multiroom house from Old Harbor - same general age but MUCH larger

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This all looks VERY familiar, Patrick...

My best to you,