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The first week at Nunalleq

July 10, 2017

The first week of excavation at Nunalleq has come to an end, and all and all it has been a great week, with lots of progress. Before the season this year we decided to open upp a smaller part of our big excavation area, since we have a smaller crew than usual. This means that we have a trench of 14x8m, half the size of the 2015 excavation. The aim of the season is to gain knowledge of the earliest occupation at Nunalleq, and to reach the bottom of cultural deposits, the natural 🙂


The site at the beginning of the week

We knew from the 2015 excavation, when we reached the very top level of the early occupation deposits in Nunalleq, that the layout and architecture of the house was entirely different from the later phases, and this has been confirmed during this week.

As mentioned in earlier posts we have a large continuos house floor in the middle of the area, it is surrounded by a massive turf wall in the south, likely to be the outer wall, and small dividing walls have been detected inside the house-structure. It seems like we have a large room in the centre, a smaller room in the northwest, and possibly a corridor or walkway leading to a room in the northeast, most of which is still unexposed under the ground beyond our trench.


Nunalleq in the morning of the last day of the week

Under the large house floor we found boards, more and more boards. In the centre of the house is a massive boardwalk, or maybe floorboards, and smaller walkways leading away from it.


Floorboards and walkways, the large wall and the drainage to the left upper corner of the picture.

In the south we have a drainage feature, possibly outside the house. As we have been digging through the house floor(s) many artefacts have come to light, and our knowledge of past life at Nunalleq is increased by every one.


Excavating a large pot

Despite the change in architecture, we have many finds that shows the continuity from generation to generation of Nunalleq dwellers. One example is the seal symbol, which reoccurs as an ownership mark throughout different Nunalleq occupations.

On Monday we will start by planning, and then removing, the floorboards, and we are all very excited to see what that will reveal.


But all is not work at Nunalleq… At the end of the day we went down the sea where Mike cooked salmon over open fire, Jonathan played the flute, and we all enjoyed the perfect ending to a very successful first week of digging.



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