Monday, August 2, 2010

Busting sods at Mitk’sqaaq Angayuk

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Today I started work with the Alutiiq Museum at Mitk’sqaaq Angayuk (Little Friend in Alutiiq) at Cliff Point on Kodiak. We opened a 2x8 meter excavation in search of shell midden for my dissertation research. I would like to find midden (ancient food refuse) between 2000 and 4000 years old. Last year the Alutiiq Museum dug in another part of this site and collected midden from 1000 years ago as well as midden from the 19th century, or Russian period in Kodiak. If we can find older midden, I will have a nice array of fauna from different ages at this location and I will be able to compare what people ate and what season they used the site through time.
Usually the most physically demanding parts of the excavation are the first day (busting sods) and the last day (backfilling). Today we were very happy to have the help of my friends John and Katelyn all day and my parents and our guests from New Hampshire in the afternoon. John and Katelyn helped us bust sods, shovel off the Katmai ash from 1912, and then dig in the afternoon. In the afternoon our friend Jon from New Hampshire also got to dig (you can see him holding a ground slate ulu fragment in the bottom photo) while his dad, Hal, and my dad carried our buckets up to the screen for us. My mom took all the photos you see here. It was awesome to have so much help! It went so fast that we started finding artifacts right after lunch. We like our volunteers to find things so that they think archaeology is cool! In the top photo you can see our excavation with Patrick screening in the background. In the middle John is examining a bone and Katelyn is digging. In the bottom right I am holding a netsinker or line weight. Based on these artifacts we think this level is at least 1000 years old and there should be older stuff below!

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