Thursday, June 21, 2007

A New Prehistoric Lithic Site

Hello, readers! Amber Davis is back in the driver’s seat, a.k.a. I am writing the blog again and excited to be doing so. Whew! Things have slowed down a bit after the departure of the Danes on June 2nd—less field work, more office work. Ken has been preparing a field report and I have drawn two maps for Laura and Jonas to use in their 50-page paper for the University of Copenhagen. Good luck, both of you! The paper will be written in English and it will focus on the early history of Lameshur Bay on St. John. We will make it available to the general public, so stay tuned if you’re interested.

In other news, after completing a test excavation at the ruins of an early plantation, Ken, Susanna, and I hiked out to a point on the south shore and discovered a prehistoric lithic scatter. We got GPS points on two large lithics recovered that could either be tools or the by-product of tool manufacture. The archaic people that settled on St. John did not refine their everyday, utilitarian stone tools and so it can be difficult to distinguish between the tool and the refuse. We also discovered a manuport, which Ken explained to me was a stone found out of its original context that was used as a tool by humans. However, the stone was not modified by a human. Our manuport is a rounded rock that would have originally been found on a beach, but we found it atop the cliff where the archaic people likely brought it to prepare food with. Lastly, one beautiful lithic tool was also recovered that may be notched (see picture below, the small square stone). This lithic site may date to 400 B.C. because another archaic site, with similiar tools, at a nearby bay was carbon-dated to this early period.

Over the next few weeks, the team has a busy schedule. We will be surveying the spine of Hassel Island to assess the conditions of various archeological sites and structures. Catch-and-keep, be afraid:) Also, the purchase of chemicals and equipment for metal artifact conservation has been approved, so I will be monitoring the pH of our wet-storage vat and determining chloride concentration very soon (vat seen below with artifacts) .

Thanks for visiting the blog and see you soon.

P.S. I'm writing this post script a couple weeks later than the blog because it is just too interesting to wait for the next blog...We have rediscovered an RPG in our archives that we would love to know more about. FYI, an RPG is a rocket-propelled grenade, and this artifact shown below was found at a tent site at Cinnamon Bay campground. We have no expertise with military artifacts, and so we are asking if any readers do have valuable knowledge. Just reply to this post or you can email with tips. Thanks!

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