Search This Blog

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

House with Ulus

Near the end of removing sod and ash on Day 1 

It was just yesterday that we started to dig at the Kashevaroff Site and I was super worried that it might not even be a 'real' site.  We busted the sods and shoveled off the thick layer of white volcanic ash from the 1912 Katmai eruption.  And then right away we started to find stuff.  First we found some cow bones - uh oh. ... Probably dead stray cows from the Bruhn and Frye family ranches that existed in this area prior to the Katmai eruption.  Then some fire-cracked rock - things are looking better.  And then Leslie found a red chert flake - finally an indisputable prehistoric artifact.

But it got better - the 1912 ash was really deep on the West side of our block and after we finally dug it all out we had a house foundation with a slate slab hearth in the middle. The question remained - how old is the house?

Today we cleaned it up and started to dig into the soil just below the Katmai ash.  We found lots of ground slate ulus ('fish knives') and more red chert flakes.  The ulus were probably used to process fish and in one day we have already found more ulus than from all the other sites we have excavated at the head of Womens Bay combined.  It looks like we have a fishing camp where they used ulus to split and process fish.

The house has a single room and lacked a sod covered roof - it probably had a thatch roof. The wall cut is really well defined and the post holes are so clear that I doubt it is more than a few thousand years old.  Yet it lacks multiple rooms and is associated with red chert flakes.  This hints that the house is probably more than a thousand years old.  Right now if I had to guess I'd say it is 1500 years old.

What is amazing is how much we have found and learned in just 2 days.  And also the site seems to be totally different from the other nearby sites we have excavated.


The foundation of a house RIGHT under the 1912 Katmai ash

Jesse shows off a sideblade

Jill and the cleaned up house - complete with dorrway, hearth and post holes

Collecting charcoal from the floor of the house

No comments: