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Sunrise, sunset, and archaeology in between

July 26, 2014

Yesterday, we witnessed one of those breath-taking Alaskan midnight sunsets. The photos do not do justice to the immensity of the sky and the sense of space one has in this landscape: the flat tundra, the mountains in the background, the ever changing clouds all gained a new quality in the reds and purples of the late night sun. We woke up to a beautiful morning, sunny and windy enough for mosquitoes to keep away. Many fishing boats were casting their nets just off the beach, taking advantage of the high tide.

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Greeting the local fishermen on our walk to the site

Despite the warm weather, the ground is still partly frozen is some areas of the 2013-2013 excavation, and Edouard removed two massive columns of ice from the bottom of a couple of squares – a reminder of the low temperatures sustained during the winter. Having dedicated part of the morning to the organisation of the tent, the site records and finds processing areas, most of the day was spent deturfing, but the dry weather and the occasional artefacts found just below the sod top layer (like the dog skull and almost complete clay lamp that Rick and Ziggy found) made for a very good day. We planned the looter’s holes in Area D (West) and started removing the fill of the deepest one, which held some treasures despite the looting, including carved ivory head very similar to the one from last year, which has become the logo for the project. This is a good omen! More on this artefact later.

By the end of tomorrow, we should be able to start excavating in Area C (East), where we have already found three large wood posts. But it feels like proper archaeological digging now that we are getting to cultural deposits: check out Edouard in action doing the first open-area photograph.

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We returned home to another one of Cheryl’s divine dinners, Vero’s arrival and the news that a bathroom has been built in the main sleeping quarters. Oh joy!! No more running across the street in the middle of the night! The evening has continued as wonderfully summery as the rest of the day – a real treat, as you can see!

Ana

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