13 July, 1998

07/13/98 Discovery of a New House and More Human Remains

*** Up at 6:45 A.M. - Safety meeting at the construction office at 8:00 - a new pit for Aaron and me to work on - discovery of a jaw and a house timber - rumors about the barges ***

At 8:00 we went to the weekly mandatory safety meeting at the Village Safe Water office. Rourke Williams of VSW, made some announcements, and spoke of some safety concerns. This archeology project became necessary because human remains were found during excavations for a village sewer line. The archeology team feels some pressure because it is likely that at some time the archeology will hold up the construction schedule. Luckily for us the construction crew is idle because they are short on equipment, parts and fuel that is all stuck on a barge somewhere. At the site, Rick Reanier assigns Aaron and me to help enlarge a

pit that he is working on. Kristen has identified human remains in the center of the pit. Aaron and I work for about 8 hours and only turned up pottery pieces, ivory pieces and some antler tools. At about 4:30 P.M. Rick asks Aaron and me to lower the pit floor and excavate the area around the human remains. Within a few minutes I uncover another mandible (lower jaw) and a house timber. After a little confusion it becomes apparent that the burial is Ipiutak, and the house must be newer. The builders of the house must have disturbed the grave during construction. The house timber looks as though it belongs to the house being excavated in the next pit. There is a lot of excitement and there are a lot of pictures.

Rourke Williams stopped by to see how things are going and to tell us that the barges are only one or two days out. I don't know how the rest of the archeologists take the news but I am nervous about some frenetic days ahead.


After finishing our first site last Saturday, Tim and I were moved on to a different one. It was much more pressure because there were human remains, which we left to the experts to remove, in the middle of this one. At about twelve inches down I uncovered a walrus mandible that is the size of my bent arm from shoulder to wrist. I can't imagine paddling out into the ice cold ocean in a boat that I made from seal skins to hunt a sea mammal that could swallow my head in a heartbeat, let alone killing it with a harpoon that I made out of the tusk of the last one I killed.

On another note, we have been graced with the presence of a professional cook. Calvin Moto has cooked for a Lebanese restaurant in Akron, Ohio, as well as for the workers cleaning up the Exxon Valdez spill. Now he cooks for us, and does a tremendous job. I am constantly hearing adults complain about how eating this much food is just too much.

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