21 July, 1998

07/21/98 Big Discoveries

*** Our barge leaves - Greenpeace leaves - Randy Peterson leaves - Big discoveries at the excavation ***

Everybody left today! High tide was at three or four A.M. and the tugs struggled to pull our barge off the beach. It was a beautiful day and work at the site was upbeat. Just before lunch, the Greenpeace people came along with a guy doing video for the Discovery channel, and a guy from Alaska public radio. They photographed, interrogated, filmed and interviewed just about everybody. For lunch Calvin Moto made us caribou soup that was really good! The Greenpeace ship and Randy Peterson both left this afternoon, we will really miss Randy.

After lunch, Kristen Wenzel and Bob Iyatunguk started to excavate in the mysterious sod covered pit that Aaron and I had uncovered earlier. They instantly hit paydirt! All afternoon they constantly produced high quality ivory objects and projectile points. The rest of us excavated a ridge that was left in the center of one of the houses. My end had very few artifacts, so Stephanie Barr and I quickly knocked our part down. At the other end of the ridge, Aaron Stupple and Alvin Iyatunguk uncovered a strange pavement of flagstones. This type of stone is not found near the village and the last time they saw a structure like this it covered the graves and spectacular grave offerings that drew archeologists here last year. The whole village is buzzing about this. We left the stones in place overnight and we will start to remove them in the morning. Our best guess is that a lot of people will be at the site watching tomorrow.


Today was the most exciting day of excavating so far, at least for me anyway. The spread of stones that Alvin and I uncovered look much like those of last year. I can't wait to see what's under those stones. Opportunities like these come once in a lifetime for many archeologists, and here we are digging this stuff up every other day.

The village residents come into the lab usually around ten o'clock each night. It's amazing because back home people would be long gone at ten o'clock; here things seem to just get under way. These long summer days are unbeatable.

Tim excavating with the crew.

Tim near a pile of some of the animal bones from our excavation.

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