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Storm over Quinhagak

October 7, 2017

Yesterday a storm bringing severe flooding hit Quinhagak full on with onshore winds of 80 MPH. The storm originated on the coast of Russia and water had been building up – pushed by the winds – all the way across the Bering Sea, adding approximately another 3m to the ‘normal’ high tide in Quinhagak. The storm lasted for about three hours, and was still raging when Quinhagak went to sleep last night. Warren reported the beach road was flooded before the tide turned. You can see a report from Quinhagak on Alaska Weather here, 1.59 into the program.

Over in Scotland, we are still awaiting words from Quinhagak, but October 5th may be a fateful date in recent Nunalleq history – we may not have a site anymore.

Quinhagak, pretty much in the centre of the storm

We are hoping that all our friends in Quinhagak are safe, and that the damage to the village is not too great!

A note from the conservation lab

September 27, 2017

Julie Masson-MacLean, our very skilled conservator who has been working on the Nunalleq collection since 2015, shares her experience on Conservation Conversations, a blog run by the Icon Scotland Group.


Quinhagak carver John Smith in KYUK

September 15, 2017

John Smith, Quinhagak elder, artist and carver is featuring in a nice article in KYUK. John has been involved in the Nunalleq excavation from the start, and has become a great friend of us archaeologists. He is constantly sharing his stories (some more elaborate than others 😉 ), and telling us about artefacts we find, and their use in the past – the ones he recognise. We have learned a lot for John, not least from the wonder with which he’s scrutinising the ancient carvings with the skilled craftsman’s eye. John, needless to say, is also a brilliant ivory carver, and many of us have pieces made by him, often replicas of artefacts found at Nunalleq, or inspired by the same.


John Smith examining a Nunalleq artefact (the owl below in fact, I think)

One of this years favourite artefacts was the little owl toggle found by Rufus:

Rufus with his original find, and his replica owl made by John. 

Ivory art – Old and New

Thank you John for all your support and friendship over the years!

Looking back at the summer…

September 11, 2017

Term has started here in Aberdeen, and the autumn rain is pouring down outside my office window, it all makes you wish you were back in Quinhagak… and reflect on this year’s field season.

One reflection comes from Alice – who will be working on the education pack this year, and who dug with is for three weeks this summer while also collecting material for the education pack. Alice is an archaeologists, but specialises in illustration, digital survey and visualisation – Or as Jonathan puts it: she knows 3D 🙂 Here’s a post from Alice’s blog on her Nunalleq impressions.


More on Nunalleq

September 10, 2017

Here’s an opinion piece on the excavation and future museum in Alaska Dispatch News

Report from Nunalleq on KYUK

September 6, 2017

Here you can read, and listen to, the KYUK report from Nunalleq.

The Finale

September 5, 2017

Hi all

This is our last post from this year’s field season, because lo and behold, we’ve finished!

Everything is sorted and packed away now, a few coolers with basketry and other fragile artefacts are ready for shipping, and the lab is looking tidier than it has all season.


Rick and I will be flying out this morning, he will be giving a talk about the project in Bethel at the Kuskokwim campus of University of Alaska Fairbanks, Room 118. The first 30 people to arrive will also get lunch. We hope to see you there!

Until next time, Quinhagak!



PS: We also got in this year’s hoodies, aren’t they cool?