Due to the numerous historic and two known prehistoric sites on the island, we need to make sure that the archaeological material is not mistaken for litter during the cleanup. In order to prevent disturbance of any cultural material, we will spend the next few weeks carrying out a field reconnaissance and controlled surface collections along the Hassel Island beaches.
Along the shore of Creque Marine Railway was our first find of the day, a copper ladle. We need to research how this artifact was related to the marine railway but of interest, it contained tar within the internal. This was found while meeting with SEATOW but the area has not been systematically surveyed as of yet. We decided to begin the survey along the East shore of the island. We walked along beach looking for surface artifacts, plotted these artifacts using the Trimble Navigation GPS (which can record points as accurate as 30 centimeters, and collected the artifacts accordingly. Along the beach, we found a variety of historic artifacts dating to the 18th and 19th centuries. The most common find was brick but there was also a great deal of fragmented ceramics (ie. annular ware, pearlware, yellow ware, stoneware, and course earthenware), historic glass bottles, ferrous metal (most of which was not collected), and a highly eroded mammal long bone.
As we made our way South along the beach, we began to find prehistoric artifacts. This site had been previously investigated by Ken and his team and he noticed that within the past two years, the site had been looted. There were three small depressions in the most concentrated area of the site that indicated people were digging there, most likely in search of artifacts. Also, two stone alignments had been laid out, creating a pathway that led from the beach to the site. On federal lands the removal of artifacts is very serious and can result in large fines and even prison sentences; they belong to all us.