August 29th; meet and backfill
Thursday morning was the date for a first ELLA-meeting on public and educational outreach between project partners Warren, Mike & Lynn from Qanituuq Inc, and Rick and Charlotta from the University of Aberdeen and invited local elders and village representatives, as well as representatives from regional authorities such AVCP and Calista Elders Council, museum personnel from the Bethel museum, and so on. One of the outcomes of out four year project is the production of a community handbook on how to treat threatened archaeological sites. This was discussed, as well as the importance of archaeology and heritage in Yup’ik communities in general, and Quinhagak in particular, and how to engage the young generation in the heritage of the community. Many interesting thoughts and ideas for the future came up. It was a very productive and positive meeting which promises that great things will be happening in the future.
While the meeting went on a small but courageous crew was back at the site backfilling. At least the weather was nice… maybe to show it’s pretty side to Ann Fienup-Riordan who came back with Rick, Mike and Charlotta after the meeting to see the site – or what was left of it. Edouard had been spending his time on one of his favourite tasks – digging holes. Test pits to be precise. Naturally Charlotta couldn’t resist the temptation – and joined him in the digging of holes. Duringgthe last seasons the site has grown exponentially (that is from our expectations, in reality it has probably had the same size the whole time – except from those meters that disappeared from the coastline). It is crucial for our future planning that we know how big the site actually is – hence test pitting the edges. The result is that extension of the settlement-site does seem to concur with the mound in the east (even though an artefact scatter is found beyond it), but to the south the site extends at least 10-15 m further than we’ve thought, and in the north we are still not sure where it ends, but chances are area B represents the back edge of the settlement.This will be for next year to answer though, as the site is now backfilled and laid to rest…
Interesting as digging holes might be, the big – and most tedious and exhausting – job of the last few days have been back filling, and the unfailing students that have been doing this; Lindsey, Jacqui, Jessie and Andrius, together with the Q-corp team Curtis, John and Daniel deserves all the credit for fulfilling this major task! The site looks a picture!