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Making sense of sod

August 13, 2013

Screening actionSince the main building material in pre-contact Yup’ik houses is sod, which is indecently the same thing the whole tundra is made out of, and since it just decays into lighter coloured dirt, the architecture is very hard to figure out when all you’re left with is slightly different coloured dirt and a few posts. Lindsey & Edouard planningToday however, we think we figured out how to identify the sod walls – and corners and tunnel features are starting to become visible in the 2012 squares of Area A. A large part of the area is covered by what we interpret as an outside living/activity surface, but in the north part of the trench we have a separate building – or room – with very rich house floor deposits. Chaz has been digging there, and today he made some fantastic finds (including the artefact of the day). One of these was a large transformation doll or effigy. It is rather crudely made out of a branch that’s been allowed to keep its natural form, maybe that’s the reason it is quite sinister in its appearance (almost troll-like to a Scandinavian). It is a wolf-woman, she seems to be pregnant and if you turn her the hood is a wolf or a fox. One can also make out another animal face from a different angle.

Woman profile wolf

VeroJacquiThe wall features and house floors in the south block in area A have been identified and taken down to the level we want before closing them, they are now photographed, planned and closed – ready to be covered by tarp tomorrow. Thus, the whole focus in area A has now moved on to the 2012 squares.

Ella & Carly planningEllen and Carly paper workingIn area B all the fun was removed with the garbage-context that we finished on Saturday. Today we have been removing building collapse/debris -soil very rich of decayed wood and wood chips, but not so much when it comes to artefacts. We think we understand the structure though, with inside living areas (and house floor at least in the southwest), wall features, and outside activity areas. Since two (boring)) contexts were removed from area B today, a lot of time have gone into recording and planning also in this part of the site. Might not be as exciting as finding troll dolls, but its no less (if not more) important 😉

Charlotta at THE DESK

It has finally stopped raining, the weather was beautiful today, and the wind picked up soon enough, so we only had a morning of bugs. It definitely raised the spirits of the crew (some evil site directors were even worried they had too much fun 😉 ), good start of the week!

Andrius on sod pile


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