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Fieldwork 2012 – impressions

October 3, 2012

Recently returned to reality, and safely tucked away behind my desk in the office in Aberdeen, I can’t help longing back to the far away Alaskan tundra…

During the intense three week excavation phase you get so caught up in the digging – everything is about dirt, artefacts and features. In fact there is so much more to it than that. If it wasn’t for the fantastic support given by Warren and the others working for the corporation Qanirtuuq Inc. we wouldn’t have the luxury to be so totally absorbed by dirt and ancient things.This summer they went above and beyond to facilitate our digging. Already from the first day we had a tent on the site – giving wet and windblown archaeologists shelter on a stormy day undoubtedly prolongs the joyful digging (to some diggers dismay, I’m sure), and this wasn’t any old tent. We had floorboards, we had tables and benches, we even had a stove and kettle, and our brave camp manager Mike loaded his four by four with soup and drove out to feed us on particularly awful (as in cold and wet) days. Think he saved many a spirit by this! Always good humoured Mike did a fantastic job looking after this bunch of troublesome loonies, otherwise known as archaeologists, (unfortunately giving him very little time to dig himself 😦 ). And as if these things weren’t enough  – dustpans flew in from Anchorage, new perfected screens appeared magically at site over night, four by fours were summoned for surveying – the list can go on and on… Thank you all, we diggers wouldn’t have managed half as well without all your efforts!

The interest and support for our joint venture into the past is overwhelming and we had many site visits from the village, and several people volunteered to help out with the digging for longer or shorter periods. As three weeks is frightfully short when the site is eroding out into the sea, every extra hand is immensely valuable. So are the stories of life in the old days and knowledge about the ancient artefacts that many people shared with us at site and the Show and Tell. Conversations over artefacts can be so rewarding! When school started again after the summer break we had visitors from the school almost every day (only very wisely staying inside the day of the worst storm), and some students came back to join us when school had finished. All these contributions are what makes the project a success, and we hope you come back and join us in the field next year!


One Comment leave one →
  1. April 24, 2013 00:24

    I miss you guys!

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