Part of our challenge for this trip was to relocate the sites we are now excavating. The six sites were first identified two years ago, and we had a rough idea where most of them should be.As added insurance we also brought along the archaeologist who first identified the sites and she seemed to mostly remember where we wanted to go, mostly.
The first one we rediscovered is a tiny little lookout – a steep climb and a rocky seat, but a great view of the area. It had some interesting traditional use markers at the bottom of the hill: a tree tied in a knot (which has subsequently fallen over, but still cool), and a stump that was cut with a stone adze (you don’t see that much within the last century…).
Afterwards we wandered done to the river where there is an old cabin, as well as some of the machinery used to winch in barges – the only way to access the area without a plane. There isn’t too much left other than the corner of the cabin and some of the foundations. We don’t plan on doing any further work at this spot, but still fun to poke around.
We discovered that one of our sites has been blasted through (they said is was an accident…) while they were busy gathering rock to build the road down to the modern ferry landing spot. We did a bit of shovel testing to see how much of the site they might have left us safely tucked away in the trees, but it looks like they did a pretty thorough job of destroying the high potential areas.
One of the sites required some serious climbing skills – the hillside seems almost vertical in places, luckily I was sent off to another site while the other team investigated this spot. Apparently, if you survive the climb the view of the surrounding valleys and rivers is fantastic. They continued on to the next high site where they found some very cool points (pics of awesome finds to come next post), I suspect more work will need to be done there or they will have to avoid the area with their mining operations. However, I am skeptical of the second option given what already happened when they were building the road.
The last site is tucked away in the forest on a good rise, across the river. That’s where I spent several days and will likely spend a few more. There are the remains of a tent foundation – evidence of traditional use of the area. But shovel testing reveals that the occupation of the area goes much further back than that – lots of flakes, microblades and general evidence of stone tool making in the area. The area didn’t start off that promising but that was just because we weren’t looking in the right places.
Pictures of some of the pretty rocks we’ve found to come soon!