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Five weeks and counting

August 12, 2017

I am a bit behind on the updates of the dig. We are now in our last week of the excavation, and it is frantic. A lot has happened the last two weeks. We are quite far down by now and we think that’s the reason our puddles have become a standing feature at the site (maybe because we’re close to the natural clay, we think). We have to start every day by bailing.

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yup

Our old house turned out to be much deeper than we thought when we planned the season. We have now removed the 4th occupation level, and we have not seen the end of it yet (although we know it is close, as we are coming down on natural clay in more and more places. We have over 300 contexts (different events in the history of the site). More than double of what we were expecting when we started. It is exciting though – we are learning so much about pre-contact Yup’ik architecture, and the house is very well built.

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Excited archaeologists finding a nice feature

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Planning, planning, planning…

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The site a week or so ago

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Antler marking a wall

We’ve also had some wildlife encounters at the site. Two moose walking across the mudflats and into the sea.

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Moose at a distance

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A different kind of wildlife

Véro left us a bit over a week ago, after having collected her maggots and pupas. They were not as far developed as she hoped, probably due to the cold weather we had the last week before she left.

Jonathan’s research has also developed – into a deep deep pit. Every morning for weeks Jonathan has bailed his test pits and scraped the newly thawed dirt down to permafrost. His efforts seems to have payed off – he has possibly found a site – considerably older than our current one judging from the depth down to the first cultural layers. Needless to say Jonathan is very happy. We have taken some material for C14 dating, so the future will tell…

At the end of fourth week we also had to say goodbye to Sven, Christie, and Lucy.

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End of four weeks group picture

Sven was playing with his drone his last few days at site, and took some great overview pictures of the site.

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Véro’s last day on site was wet…

Our brave volunteers Chris and Rufus, Steve and Patti arrived the same day Véro left.

Since then they have experienced amazing archaeology, salmon fest, thunderstorm, sun, and bugs, bugs, bugs.

Since then Chris and Rufus has already left, but they were a great addition to our crew. Rufus – only nine years, but a proficient digger already.

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Recently contemporary Yup’ik artist Drew Michael and filmmaker Joshua Branstetter also joined our crew. Josh is working on a short documentary about the project and the community, and Drew is hopefully finding some inspiration for a new art project. (He did find a mask today, and was exhilarated 🙂 ).

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Drew scrutinizing a bentwood bowl

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Archaeology as it happens…

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Just another day at the site…

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Bugs, bugs, bugs. Someone might be wearing a plant macro fossil processing net on his head, but hey – whatever works

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A massacre has taken place…

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Elder John Smith visiting the site just as Alice found a kayak model…

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End of five weeks group picture (also called ‘The Quinhagak Quartet’

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Yes it is natural! (At the bottom of this huge pit

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Out trusty total station, and our trusty total station operator – always hard at work

So…. Only a few days left to dig, 353 contexts removed, 938 special artefacts registered, 266 samples taken… Tomorrow we will move dirt!

Charlotta

One Comment leave one →
  1. Rosemary Pilatti permalink
    August 12, 2017 15:24

    WOW and thank you for the pix! I think alot about the tools and artifacts you found…..then I think about the tools I use now….

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