Look Out Below

As Above, So Below

Beneath the streets of Paris rests a deadly secret.

Can there ever be a movie with archaeologists that doesn’t involve the supernatural?

westerndigs:

Among the puzzles posed by the massive extinction of mammals at the end of the last Ice Age is why North America’s saber-tooth cats and great native lions disappeared, while their equally ancient cousins, the cougars survived. A new study of big-cat remains found in California’s La Brea Tar Pits may have found an answer. Read on to learn more »

Projectiles

Shown above is the projectile point collection of local Anchorage knapper, Mike Richardson. Mike uses a variety of materials to knapp including obsidian, cherts, jaspers, bottle glass, TV glass, and toilet tank ceramics.

The knife being held is a knapped piece of TV glass inset into a walrus tusk and applied with black birch bark pitch. Mike has said that the birch pitch can be chewed like gum and once proceeded to do so for upwards of 40 minutes. He commented on it being only slightly tougher than Bazooka. With a quick introduction to a flame, the pitch melts and can be applied to the blade and handle, solidifying as an excellent mastic.

The pieces behind the ivory-handled knife are points that other people have made for Mike. In the middle photo, this is the display on the right. The display to the left of that are points Mike has found over time. The two displays on the left are points that Mike has made himself. His work includes various examples of side notching, corner notching, basal notching, concave bases, stemmed points, serrated edges, etc. He says he goes where the point takes him.

Mike is also rather inventive when it comes to creating ease of use in hunting technology. What I believe is his favorite invention is a rest at the end of a throwing board (atlatl). This can be a notched piece of wood or some rawhide that sticks out and allows the dart, while in place for throwing, to rest securely without having to use one’s fingers to keep the dart steady. A small piece of leather line looped around both the dart and the throwing board can keep the two pieces together for storage or transportation. Simply loosening the leather unleashes the dart for use. The rest also aids in keeping the dart steady during a throw, so the release of the dart with one’s fingers is not an issue where the hand is only holding the throwing board, reducing the mental stress of attempting to determine the necessary moment of release.

Gulkana Glacier, Alaska

Hooper Bay, Alaska

Hooper Bay sits on the Bering Sea and is currently inhabited by just over 1,000 residents, 94% of which is Native American, most likely Yup’ik. 

These photos illustrate a bit of the village beginning with a panorama from the beach showing the wind turbines, various housing structures, and the large school. The school is the largest structure in the village having been built as a result of a 2006 fire that took down the previous school. This is the largest place of employment for the village.

We came in on the old airstrip which has on it a locked warehouse and a green connex. There is no where to wait for incoming planes other than along the leeward side of the building. The airstrip is far enough from town that you can’t just wait from the place you are staying (in our case, the school’s teacher’s lounge floor - there are no hotels) and run out to catch it. And as always, everything is on “Bush Time” out there, so you might be waiting for hours for the plane, which we did, on a really cold, windy day.

We were able to obtain a 4wheeler which helped us get around to our project location. There may be one truck in the entire village, otherwise there are just 4wheelers, as seen by the grocery store parking lot. We had to fill up the machine once, so we went to the only gas station in the village. How about them $7/gallon prices!?

Just wandering around town it was obvious that this village was a lot different than much of the rest of the US, especially the Lower 48; roads are unpaved, houses are built on stilts to account for permafrost movement. We passed by the cemetery which had some graves appearing to be freshly arranged. There also seems to be a common contemporary tradition in villages where fake flowers are left for the lost loved ones. These are probably more easy to come by, less expensive, and last a while longer than real flowers.

Dump: Hooper Bay, Alaska
Back when I visited Hooper Bay in 2009, many homes were still not connected to a water and sewer system. This meant that you literally had to take your dump to the dump.

Dump: Hooper Bay, Alaska

Back when I visited Hooper Bay in 2009, many homes were still not connected to a water and sewer system. This meant that you literally had to take your dump to the dump.

image

D: I think one of my biggest fears is about to come true:

Faculty members who don’t know how to use track changes in Word but instead prefer to print out the document and use red ink.

izanzanwin:

Flag that flew over Native American-occupied Alcatraz

izanzanwin:

Flag that flew over Native American-occupied Alcatraz

Skagway ferry dock sinks for unknown reasons
Here’s the thing about some parts of Alaska: Now with this ferry terminal down, what was once an hour and a half trip by boat to get to the next town over, is now more like an 8 and a half hour trip since the traveler now has to go through Canada and back down into Alaska. Or maybe you have a plane…
By ferry:

By land:

Skagway ferry dock sinks for unknown reasons

Here’s the thing about some parts of Alaska: Now with this ferry terminal down, what was once an hour and a half trip by boat to get to the next town over, is now more like an 8 and a half hour trip since the traveler now has to go through Canada and back down into Alaska. Or maybe you have a plane…

By ferry:

image

By land:

image

TBT: Bored Lifeguard (pre-beard, circa 2005)

TBT: Bored Lifeguard (pre-beard, circa 2005)