Day 4: Monday May 11 2009
FIRST DAY OUT WITH THE CREW!!
As today was our first day on site with our whole team, it started with a tour. Eva Hulse, Jennifer Bracewell, Sam Vaneeckhout showed the group some of the places they have excavated in the past. This was to give the undergraduates an idea of what a Stone Age settlement looks like for surveying purposes. Eva, along with the Grad students, gave a thourough explanation of the previous years excavations and finds and put them into an on-site context. This brought all of the students up to date while in the field.
Dwelling structures are indicated by one or more shallow depressions in the ground that are either square or oval shaped. The oval shaped depressions are harder to sight and are older than the more defined square depressions. The depressions were the foundations for pit houses. The hearth is often defined by a spot in the middle where the vegetation is especially lush because of the extra nutrients remaining after burning. Sometimes quartz flakes or pottery shards are visible from disturbance.
Jenn gave her intro to The Thing, explaining its context as a built up earthen mound, as well as its re-use throughout time. It is an interesting site once used to forge iron and seems to have a double layer of podsol.
The team went to the Kierikki Stone Age Center to have lunch. At the center, they have constructed a row of pit houses as they might have looked 5000 years ago. Some people had lunch inside them around the fire.
In the afternoon Dustin Keeler and Greg Korosec led two survey teams previously designated along the 55th and the 60th contours. This allows for a systematic search for depressions and pits in the ground, indicating past human disturbance. The goal of these surveys is to cover more ground with more accurate GPS equipment in use.
Michael Wing (the teacher who is part of PolarTREK) who was part of Greg’s team described surveying accurately as follows: “Greg holds a GPS (global positioning system) device that tells us where we are. The rest of us form a line to the right and left of him, each person about twenty steps away from the next. We advance together in a line, keeping our eyes on the ground. We leap across ditches, trip over stumps, slog through wetlands and crash through bushes. Greg moves fast, and you have to keep up! If we see something suggestive of a pit house we call out and Greg comes over to look.”
It is quite the adventure and many of the team members find it a rewarding process even when the results are negative. Greg Korosec’s Survey cleared sites on the 55 meter contour so archeologists looking for Stone Age sites there know not to look there. Dustin Keeler’s Survey of the 60 meter contour came across two sites, one a cluster of depressions and the other a long row of pits.
Day 3: Sunday May 10 2009
Today was a rest day, some of the undergraduate students chose to explore the tourist aspects of Oulu in the morning. It’s only a short bus ride away or a beautiful 5K walk/bike that takes you through quaint residential areas and forest scenery.
The city was founded in 1605 by King Charles IX of Sweden. Its rapid economic growth is attributed to its exportation of tar and growing university. Fires in 1882 destroyed much of Oulu. Much of the city was re-designed by Carl Ludvig Engel. His designs still dominate the town center to this day.
Some interesting sites in Oulu are the Market Square, Cathedral, Observatory Café, Hupisaaret, the Botanical Gardens, and the Toripolliisi. The observatory café is an observatory tower built on the old foundation of the Oulu castle as part of a The Oulu Marine Institute, but now serves café with a wonderful view of the city. Hupisaaret is a wide park area that offers the opportunity to enjoy nature right in the heart of the city. There are small streams and a few botanical green houses along with salmon runs.
The Toripolliisi is a bronze statue of a large police man that guards the city in the market square. If you drop a letter in the market square it will be stamped with the Market Square Policeman postmark. To learn more about Oulu you can visit www.visitoulu.fi.
Modern art is pleasantly spread throughout downtown. Some are labeled stating their historical significance, others are left up to personal interpretation.
Day two consisted of Greg Korosec, Eva Hulse, Dustin Keeler, Michael Wing, Dr. Ezra Zubrow, Loretta Sun, and Sarah Billiar going out into the field as well as to the Kierikki Stone Age Center.
It was a great chance for the undergraduates to see for the first time the terrain they would be working in. They went into the field to test the GPS system and run some soil tests to determine how frozen the soil was. Eva is showing Mike and Sarah how to use the auger to run soil samples.
The soil was very soft to walk on and had a sandy texture. Away from the sight at a lower ground level ther was a pretty bog... little did the undergrads know, they would be surveying through it! Eva showed the team lingonberries, which occur everywhere in the forest. Even though they are from last year and slightly fermented, they are still good to eat because they have spent the winter frozen.
The team then drove to The Kierikki Stone Age Center where they ventured onto the roof of the three story log building to set up the GPS system.
The center and the village are located on the banks of the Iijoki River and hold a unique combination of Finnish prehistory, which dates back to 5,000 B.C. To find out more about the Center you can go to http://www.kierikki.fi/sivu/en/kierikkikeskus/.