Thursday, August 2, 2012

Amak Excavation Update

Andrea holding a battered bayonet

Leslie with a pit feature that was dug into glacial till

Libby volunteering at the site for a day

Tatiana holding another battered bayonet

Jenny holding a bayonet for the DIY camera crew
Week three has continued with a bit of every kind of weather. Our 1 1/2 days in the lab while it was raining allowed us to get caught up on washing and cataloging artifacts though. Today the sun came out and it was hot again.

In our main excavation we are continuing to removed deposits that we believe date to the Ocean Bay II time period (~5500 yrs ago). Unfortunately these layers are confusing the heck out of us (that's not really such a bad thing as it always makes it interesting!). We are finding large areas where there is stacked sod (old volcanic tephras) and large areas where there is lots of black sediment, charcoal, rocks, and "electric orange" tephra - tephra that looks like it has been fired. In many places, the black layer is right on top of glacial till. In other places there is sterile volcanic ash right on top of till, which is what you should find in places where people (or other things) have not disturbed the soil.

Even though we are pretty confused, Patrick and I do feel like we are figuring the stratigraphy out. We are even starting to form some hypotheses for why people were doing the things they did at the Amak Site.

We think that when people came to this site to hunt seals in Ocean Bay II times, they dug up all the dirt in one area of the hill and piled it up in another area. Then they used that cleared area for burning - for some type of burning that created lots of charcoal and used lots of rocks - maybe cooking or smoking seal meat? Even if we don't figure out exactly why they created all these features and moved all this dirt, I think it's still valuable that we are identifying and describing it. It is rare to find features such as this in sites this old on Kodiak and we hope that what we've found might help us or someone else figure out the purpose of similar features at other sites.

Today was also a fun day because we had a few visitors. Libby, a former Alutiiq Museum staff member, volunteered this morning. It was fun to hang out with Libby because she helped run Community Archaeology back when I started as a student intern in 2002. We also had a film crew from the DIY network who were here doing a show on building a lodge and wanted to add a historical piece. If you happen to see us on DIY, look for me screening in the background!

1 comment:

  1. Molly, this makes me miss archaeology so much! Glad that it looks like you are having some sunny weather. Say hi to the lithics for me