17 July, 1998
7/17/98 Dig Dig Dig
*** Alvin Iyatunguk gives us a 4-wheeler ride to the site at 8 A.M.- hard digging until 3 P.M. - Ann Jenson arrives - transportation in Deering ***
Today's big push was to release a portion of the sewer line's right-of-way to the Construction Company. The section in question was the 100-yard portion in which we had dug all of the test pits. Since the pits had yielded some artifacts and some human bones it was decided that we would hand excavate the entire length of the layer that had yielded the most artifacts. We enlisted Brian Weinard, one of the master backhoe operators at VSW (Village Safe Water). Brian carefully stripped back the surface down to the critical layer. Then came the work. We had to excavate a 5-foot by 300-foot 1 to .5 foot deep trench. This makes 3 straight days of hard digging and I'm starting to feel the effects. At 2:30 our "old" friend from Barrow, Anne Jenson arrived with some badly needed surveying and computer equipment. It will be good to talk to her again.
Just a few words about transportation in Deering. There are no cars here and a very few pickup trucks. Everybody travels by ATV's or 4 wheelers. The entire range from whole families to one 10 year old can be seen on these things. If they have anywhere distant to travel they fly, and it seems that everyone has flown a lot. Today Susie, Alvin and Bob (fellow diggers from the village) were laughing because I was explaining that in my neighborhood we would always elect to drive 200 miles instead of choosing to fly.
Like Tim said, we are doing a lot of digging. The whole scope of the operation has changed. We are no longer using trowels. The smallest tool is a shovel, compared to the backhoe that is now in operation. After lunch I came back to the headquarters and did some lab work. I learned how to clean and preserve artifacts. It's fun to do some lab work. It's quite a switch from being out in the wet, digging with a shovel, getting full of mud and battling mosquitoes. The lab is very far behind the field work. Artifacts have been flying in too fast to preserve and catalog.
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