Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Community Archaeology 2011: The Amak Site

View of Kashevaroff Mountain from the site
The Amak Site before our excavation

Christy digging on day 1

The excavation: day 2
Community archaeology started yesterday at the Amak Site (near the Salonie Creek Rifle Range) with some beautiful weather (albeit a little warm and buggy for our tastes, but one can't complain too much when it's not raining in Kodiak). The Amak Site is an Ocean Bay site (between 4000 and 7500 years old) located about a mile from the ocean. This location seems odd today given that most archaeological sites are either right on the coast or along salmon rivers. However, if you know that the coastline of Kodiak was quite different 7000 years ago, it's not quite so strange. We believe that the ocean reached farther inland that it does today and the base of the Amak Site was actually right on the beach. Some of our test pits might tell us if we're correct or not.

Yesterday we took off the sods, shoveled off the 1912 Katmai ash, and began excavating Level 1. Level 1 has a few artifacts, mostly chipped stone but we are excited to get through it and onto the next component. We have some idea what to expect from a test pit dug at the site in 2005. You can see Patrick taking a photo of the test pit in the last picture (he re-excavated it so that we could see the stratigraphy). Based on what we see in that hole, we think we may have a house pit - or at least part of one. We will find out if we are right or not in the next couple of weeks.

We had some bear excitement near the site today too. One of the volunteers saw a sow and three cubs near the site on Sunday, so we knew bears were around. After lunch today, my mom was driving up to the site when she saw the sow and cubs come out onto the road and then run down the road in front her. The eventually took off into the woods not far from our site. We didn't see them again and I'm sure they'll keep their distance from us while probably staying in the area. But now we know they're there and they know we're there.

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