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Nunalleq 2014 Needs You!

March 25, 2014

Hello Future Field School Participants!!

We are here to tell you all about the experience of digging at Nunalleq and why you should join us there for the 2014 FImageield Season! We have been on the Nunalleq excavation for the last two field seasons and want to share with you how amazing the experience is and show you how important your involvement in the project would be. Image

As you know, Nunalleq is the epitome of a rescue excavation, as each winter more and more of the incredible site erodes into the Bering Sea.  Because of this, our efforts to excavate, record and preserve this amazing piece of Alaskan pre-history depend on the number and enthusiasm of our volunteers.  At first, traveling all the way to Alaska may seem daunting, and to be honest, when we first went we thought we’d be eaten by bears before we even got close to a trowel. But, in reality the adventure is well worth spending a night curled on an airport bench, and upon arriving in Quinhagak after a beautiful flight across the tundra, we felt immediately welcomed by the friendliness and hospitality of our hosts, and the sight of real beds!Image

ImageAs to be expected on any excavation, hard work is the name of the game, but the wonders of Nunalleq reveal themselves almost immediately, rewarding those efforts. Any regular visitor to our blog has seen the awe-inspiring, perfectly preserved artifacts excavated on a daily basis, but the pictures don’t do justice to the feeling of exposing these incredible pieces to the world for the first time in hundreds of years. Similarly, if environmental archaeology is more your style, the site provides unrivaled preservation of organic remains including human and animal hair, insects, and plants, the recovery of which is contributing to a range of projects looking at the environment and ecology of this pre-historic landscape.  Proximity to the local Yup’ik village of Quinhagak provides many opportunities for interaction with the local community, and classes of school children are not only frequent visitors but also helpers at the site.  We show them the ins and outs of dirt screening and troweling, and on our off days they take us salmon fishing, berry picking, and show us the beautiful landscape of the Yukon Delta.  If you’re lucky, you might even get a chance to drive one of the 4 wheelers, but only if you ask Mike really nicely!  Image


It is not an exaggeration to suggest that working at Nunalleq will be the “dig of a lifetime”, as evidenced by the number of participants who go back year after year, and spend their time out of the field working with the incredible collections. It is also a place where you can create lasting friendships with people from around the world while eating s’mores around a bonfire on the beach by the Bering Sea.  So, whether you’re looking for an amazing site to work on, or simply need a reason to check Alaska off your list of visited states, joining us at Nunalleq this summer will be an experience you’ll never forget!


We can’t wait to see you there!!


Ellen & Carly

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