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Dreams of sod walls and house floors…

August 16, 2013

ArchaeologyLiving archaeology every day (and night) is starting to affect us – Edouard has been dreaming about sod walls, and Charlotta has been waking up from dreams of chasing house floors. Rick on the other hand is mostly dreaming of seal shaped ivory boxes full of ivory animals – and the site seem to be able to fulfil all our dreams… Today Chaz found a charm box shaped as seal. Sadly it was empty, but with the kind of finds we’ve been making it wouldn’t be such a surprise if the ivory animals turned up tomorrow (frustrating sod walls and house floors we have in abundance). With Véro in the lead the turf architecture of area A has been deciphered, and there now appears to be three or four separate rooms and two walled tunnels in the excavated area. basketThe most interesting house floor is still to be found in the northern part of area A (the house floor of charm boxes and wolf-women dolls), Area Aand another piece of fine basketry was found there today. We also had several finds of braided grass ropes – the most incredible finds in an archaeological context! The south squares of area A are now officially closed, and the screens have moved down there to start the backfilling.

Area BIn area B the first layer of house floor is almost removed (the last part was frozen, so it has to wait till tomorrow), and we are moving closer to the end of this rather shallow deposit. The building in area B has a very different character from the houses in area A, and we are beginning to suspect that it belongs to an earlier settlement period. The hose has not been burnt at all, as the grand house in area A, and the composition of finds, the building debris, and the mixture of household waist and a few fine artefacts, suggests we are excavating an abandoned house rather than one that has been left suddenly during a catastrophic event. bent wood bowl in situThe mask find could confirm this, as sometimes they were not broken after use, but just discarded. A powerful object like that would be left alone. Area B thus seems to be rather close to finishing – however, Nunalleq wouldn’t be Nunalleq if it was that easy. In the south-eastern corner of our opened squares the deposit that we first interpreted as an outside activity area has developed into something that is suspiciously like the house floors in area A (incidentally this is also the square closest to the northern house floor in area A). We suspect that this might be a deposit, possibly part of a house structure as we have beams in the profile above it, belonging to the same occupationalphase as the burnt house – probably even part of the same structure. The complexities of the site never cease to surprise us.

Yup'ik history classSchool has started in Quinhagak, and this afternoon we had a visit from the Yup’ik history class. They were learning about primary sources – and a more primary source than our dig is hard to find :). We hope they come back and see us again later in the week, when we done some more excavation and there’s even more stories for the archaeology to tell.

Time to go home!

Time to go home!

Charlotta

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