Monday, May 16, 2011
The mind-numbing parts of archaeology
I've been analyzing the Early Kachemak (3400 years old) bulk samples of midden I collected from Mitks'qaaq Angayuk last summer in Kodiak. I put the samples through 1/2", 1/4", and 1/8" nested screens. I then separate the shell from the bone (mostly fish), identify and count the shell fragments (that's the mind-numbing but easy part) and then I try to identify as much of the fish as I can. In the top photo I'm sorting the 1/8" midden fraction. If you look at each white tray clockwise from left to right, they contain unidentified shell, chiton, sea urchin, fish, mussel, and pebbles. In the middle is the unsorted midden. The second photo is of fish bones waiting to be identified (these are mostly cod). It is boring, but it does feel good to be getting it done.