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Archaeology Along the Columbia River

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Sunday, November 26th, 2006
8:21 am - November 2, 2006
eol_nanelmoth I somehow forgot to mention some very interesting news I learned when I met with Greg at the lab back at the beginning of the month. We got talking about the summer's work (more jesting then anything) and apparently the department has been buzzing about the findings we had with the auguring. It seems definite that there will be some formal digging at the site in the summer of 2008.

It's pretty exciting stuff. I mentioned to Greg that I would like to help however I can. Hopefully by then, I know what I can do and how often. I will need to keep in touch with Jon to make sure I can keep in touch with the project. Not only for your viewing pleasure, but also it can look really good on my records to have something that turned into something pretty large despite initial thoughts and impressions.

I will keep you up to date on how that is progressing.

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Sunday, August 27th, 2006
10:55 pm - August 14, 2006

Well,this turned out to be my last day in the field. As Jon mentioned last wednsday, we went out in the depth of Carty Unit. The grass was tall and the mesquitos were large and eager. The main plan was for use to cover at least four holes that went 3 meters deep. We were to gather charcoal samples so he could compare with an exposed site along the embankment. The last two holes before lunch, we found some FCR, but mostly large pockets of charcoal.

After lunch, we dug two more holes and found an old nail, some glass and whole bunch of sand. And let's not mention the very angery ant hill Raven almost sat down on. Otherwise, the work was straightforward. After the whole, we drove further down to look at the current conditions of Cathlapotle. Now, you cannot really see the site since it's buried under large cottenwoods and nettles. I would have taken pictures had I thought it was benefical. However, what we saw that day was far different then when it was occupied. It was a beachy like terrian and went straight to the river.


Recall the possible bear phalangies that were uncovered the week before? Well, it was discovered they were not bone at all. They sounded like the were the same mystery stuff (possible crunchy mottles) from the last midden hole on previous Monday.

I have a few more pictures I will post later this week.

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Saturday, August 19th, 2006
9:04 am - Oops, late again
eol_nanelmoth Hey, sorry. But I have neglected to post again. I shall have one up by the end of this weekend.^^

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Sunday, August 13th, 2006
11:35 am - Week of August 7- 11, 2006

For the past few weeks, it has been discussed on several occassions why we have not found trash pits, or middens. We had found where they were dumping the unwanted FRC, we have found the deep organic layers providing evidence of where they spent their time. But we had not found evidence of where they were dumping the bones, shells and hearth debris. Well the mystery revealed itself in several holes along the tall canary grass toward the north east. There is a small waterway that flows near the site, more or less a small lake. It may be the remerants of where Columbia may have flowed about 2000 years ago.

We did not hit the midden until about 100 centimeters down below the surface. The first signs were charcoal encased by clay. Along with this, we eventually found bone, but just not flakes. There were sizable samples, most likely phalangies of a mamamal,but thankfully not human. Raven and Greg hypothesis they were probably from a small bear. I should know more about these findings tomorrow. Greg and Raven were going to screen and clean the samples were took (bulk samples of the midden material and surrounding soil) on Thursday.

It appears that the Chinooken people were throwing their trash into the river, away from the houses and separate from the FCR dumps.

After lunch, we processed several other holes, leaving two for the last ones thinking they hold more evidence of the middens. Jon floated between the two teams, spending time doing some surface surveying. He did find a palm-sized Unifacial blade near the oak tree. We were prevented from doing any additonal investigation of the tree due to the large present of blackberry bramble.

Greg's team hit midden early, but it was not nearly as dense and it quickly turned into straight sand. My team however, it was not until again after 120cm did we hit midden. However there were no phalangies, but were did run across something curious. At first they were thought to be beads. There were long and tube in shape, with a slight noddle at one side and end. We found a few back in the first midden hole earlier in the day, but thought them to be bone. We kept on finding more of these "tubes". They were breakable and bright orange in color, like the large bisque balls were also finding in the hole earlier. After finding so many, Jon made an asscertain that as strange as it may sound, they may simply be a natural, albeit biazzar, mottle. We did take a sample of them to further determine what they were.

pictures on mondayCollapse )

We returned for the last time at B11. We had about eight more holes were going to dig in order to determine the last edges of where the site occupation dropped off. As predicted, little was found for the exception of a few CCS flakes and FCR.

It seemed the bramble that had prevented us from placing a hole near the oak tree on monday was now gone. THe mower had gone through and taken down most of the high grass and bushes. Seizing the opprotunity, Jon put in the 9N2W hole and we set up two screens and processed the hole. THe organic layer was there along with minor flakes, some small pieces of bone and FCR. The organics quickly went into sand about 120-140cm below the surface.

pictures for WedCollapse )

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Tuesday, August 8th, 2006
12:32 pm - Week of July 31- August 2, 2006

Well, several major things were unveiled to us beginning on Monday. Greg's group uncovered a major find, 1 meter worth of organic soils mixed with small pieces of bone, FRC and flakes. It seems that the front yard of the houses faced north-east. The soil is finer, more organic soil, smaller FCR and presence of small bone fragments, mostly fish and bird.

The west side, where my group usually works, we find big clunkers worth of FCR, lower to non-presences of organic soil and sparse artifacts. And what I mean by big clunkers is that some pieces of FCR would be about the size of my fist, about 6-7 inches in diameter. Some are too large to get out with auger or are in such a horrible position in the hole, we have to terminate the hole. We have had to do that several times. However another 20 meters down the slope, we were in the canary grass and we found nothing. Based on the findings, it appears we may have found where they dumped their used rock rubbaged and the extent in which the water came to their houses. The reason for them to be dumping their rocks away to the back is simple as moving your child's legos from out of the middle of the floor. The Chinook people like to use soft, clean sand as their floors. And one can say they often went about barefoot. So one can come to the conclusion that barefeet and large, sharp pieces of FCR are not a meeting that should not take place.

Picture of location on MondayCollapse )

Wednsday, I managed to forget my camera, so I have not pictures to share and help illustrate what we found. Jon placed my group on the east side for a while to help determine where exactly where some of these houses were. We ended up find a hole right between them! The organic layer was only about 20-40 centimeters deep compared to the meter deep stuff on monday. However, we did find a partial bi-factial tool, cryptocrystiline material. Whether it was a cutting edge or a scrapper, we are unsure.

current mood: accomplished

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Tuesday, August 1st, 2006
11:28 am - July 24-28, 2006


Sorry for the late post, but it is better late then not at all. ^^

I only worked once last week. Jon and several other volunteers went to work on another dig at Sauvie Island on Wednsday. Anywho, not too much new was uncovered on the 24th. More FCR and few more flakes. The Greg's group found a core.*

We gained two new volunteers, Jenna and Andrea (sorry no pictures of you guys yet!). They have been a great helped. Despite the hot weather on monday we still completed at least ten holes.

Speaking with another archaeology student from California, the findings of organic soils and occupation was reafirmed with his findings. Eventhough it was a white sandy beach area he was working in, they were finding layers of dark/blackish soil sandwiched between layers of sand. Almost exactly what was being uncovered and hypothesised by Jon. Instead of the white sand, we have layers of brown beach sand and/or silt and/or loam.

Pictures...Collapse )

*A core is a piece of rock in which flakes are flaked from. Cores can come in many sizes and shapes and can be of many different materials.

current mood: contemplative

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Sunday, July 30th, 2006
2:54 pm - Oops, no post on friday?
eol_nanelmoth Sorry about that. I will have a brief post up this evening. Annnd, I have pictures I need to up load before I return to the field tomorrow.

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Thursday, July 20th, 2006
11:35 am - Week of July 17- 21, 2006

Jon had mentioned that the work we would be doing for the next six weeks, we would be interacting with more artifacts then last season's work. I harbored a smiggon of doubt about finding artifacts this summer. That doubt was blown away on Monday. We found more within two holes then what was found all of last year. We found FCR (fire-cracked rock) and a large variety of flakes.

Our holes were set up going from east to west and north to south in order to determine the extent of the occupation of the first site. It was not just the uncovering of artifacts that was interesting, but the soil change. Last year we focused on studying the soil deposition and context while we took samples for phospherus testing. Jon stated that some of his peers shows some disaproval of his auger techinque stating the reason why he didn't find anything last summer was because his method didn't find them.

However, look back on the soils we found last year and the soils we were finding the artifacts were very different. The soils we found this week were very dark, highly organic and fine. This supported the statement that the chinook people tended to build their sites on clean, beach sand. The dark sandy loam was often defined by layers of lighter colored loam and beach sand.

The most exciting find took place yesterday when Jon and his volunteer, Jay(? sorry if I didn't get your name right.) They uncovered a small unifacial stone tool crafted from some cherty material. Because of the fact the modfications go all the way to the edge legnth wise, it is thought that it is only a partial tool and may have broken off from something bigger.

I didn't take too many pictures this time since there was not much to record that would be taken well with a camera.

PicturesCollapse )

current mood: accomplished

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Wednesday, July 12th, 2006
3:13 pm - Auger time approaching


I don't have much to say at this time since I will starting back into Bachelor Island next week starting on monday. So far it sounds like we will only have four people working right now, but Jon is working on a few more volunteers to come in.

Stay tuned, there will be plenty in time.

current mood: chipper

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