tiistai 13. toukokuuta 2008

Day 1 - May 12th: Quartz Flakes and Frozen Soil

Day 1 of the excavation started off with a bang, this particular bang being snow, which meant some awfully frozen organic layers to our trenches.

I'll start with the day's happenings in trench T108 at KKN (what this stands for still to come!). The first job was to clear off the organic layer in the trench. This was done relatively quickly, though there were some frozen patches that took a little longer to get through. There was one small quartz flake found near the bottom of the organic layer, but that was only a glimpse of what was to come. Once we got to the leeched layer we started finding quartz flakes left, right and center! I believe the total was about 55 separate flakes by the end of the day, very cool! All the finds were mapped, bagged, and tagged by the end of the day. This large amount of quartz flake finds could be early evidence of economic specialization which matches the shore line this dwelling is associated with, but not the dwelling type, that being a one hearthed dwelling. However it's really too early to be able to interpret this data fully, seeing as flakes are usually found in the leeched layer and other finds, such as ceramics, are usually found further down. Other interesting goings on at the KKN trench include a friendly little competition that myself and Andrius (A Lithuanian student doing his Master's degree here at Oulu University) have started. You see, whoever has the most finds turn up when screening their back dirt (which means they missed the find in its actual archaeological context) loses. We will have to decide a prize for the winner of this competition, perhaps our readers could provide some suggestions?

Moving onto trench T208 at the Thing. It was frozen. Very frozen. So frozen in fact that chiseling away at the organic layer took all day long. And this entire day of slaving over the frozen trench didn't even remove all of the organic layer! Thus a primary goal for tomorrow will be to get all of that organic layer removed!

Last but not least is the news from trench T308 over at the Pits site. This is the trench which will hopefully yield few finds, as that would support the suggested model of social evolution for the Yli-Ii river area outlined in the last post. It turns out that a piece of ceramic was found there, which seems to be older ceramic with very thick walls, which could still support the model.

Other exciting news was brought to us by the survey team. They found a very large, well, mysterious structure. It is a large U shaped mound, roughly 15 by 15 meters and 2 meters high with a another long mound in the middle, of about the same height. Overall it looks kind of like a giant trident or pitch fork (but the middle prong isn't attached) if that helps you visualize it better. It is located right along the 5500 years BP coast line and there is an interesting rock located near it which looks to have been worked somehow as it has various markings on it and perhaps even some pigment. Very cool. More updates will come as we learn more about what I'm going to call the mysterious structure for the time being.

And now for some pictures!

Snow. Something one must deal with when excavating in Finland.

The trench T108 at KKN, complete with snow.

Working away at T108...Andrius is "supervising".

Down to the leeched layer at T108

Mapping finds (ie. billions of quartz flakes) at T108

Chiseling through the frozen organic layer in trench T208 at the Thing

Jen Bracewell (McGill PhD Student) looks at the interesting rock near the mysterious structure with a look of what seems to be disgust...

Yours truly riding Andrius' bicycle before heading to the lab...maybe that's why I'm making a face.

That's all for now, should be posts most days now.

The Field School

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