Monday, July 27, 2015

Life on the Tundra

Young Arctic Hare
Many of the baby animals on the tundra have instincts to freeze and blend with the boulders and vegetation.
Overflowing nest of Lapland Longspur chicks.
Perfectly mute.  They'd be easy prey for a fox if they made a peep.
We saw this thing swimming in the river and didn't know what it was at first.  It looked like a seal, but we were 35 km inland.

It turned out it was a fox.  Not even the water is safe from this little jerks anymore.  Stay vigilant.

 Photo Credits: Tim Rast

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Wrapping up the summer

Drilled slate point 
It was a brief field season this year in Nunavut and it's all over now but the packing.  The weather is a big factor in the successes and set-backs of fieldwork and this year the rain and snow clouds cooperated with us.  We lost an hour here and there, but we didn't lose a single day to inclement weather.  The interior travel and caribou hunting sites that we worked at are notoriously shy of artifacts because they were very briefly occupied and people traveled lightly.  Still, we found a sampling of stone, bone, wood, antler, and metal artifacts to give us a glimpse of Inuit life in the area over the past few hundred years.

Taking Notes
The relentlessly pleasant weather and long field days meant there was little quiet time around camp or in the lab to reflect on the weeks as they flew by.  I haven't sorted through the photos I took and this is my first blog post since the first day in the field a month ago.  Here are a few of my favourite photos of sites and artifacts from this season.

Excavating tent rings

A small piece of worked wood, about the diameter of a pencil, resting on sphagnum moss

There were at least four tent rings at this site.

A longer piece of wood on sphagnum moss.  This site has lots of wood fragments about the right size to be arrowshafts, but nothing terribly diagnostic, so it's possible that they had other functions.

A small antler artifact with a scarfed end.

Recording a tent ring in front of a blind. 

This slate point was found at a location that would have been good for caribou hunting.  It's probably an arrowhead or small lance tip.

 Photo Credits: 
1, 3-9: Tim Rast
2: Lori White

Friday, July 3, 2015

First Day on Site

Our first site of the season greeted us with a brief shower followed by a nice bright rainbow.  By the time I took this photo the rainbow had retreated to the far side of the river, but when it first appeared it ended right on our tent rings.

The Red-Throated Loons also met us with curiosity.

Photo Credits: Tim Rast

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Blog Post #1000

This is the 1000th Elfshot blog post and with it, I'm packing my bags in a different way.

Groswater Palaeoeskimo
Harpoon Head
I started this blog back in 2009.  Within the first couple of months I adopted the routine of publishing a new post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  I liked the structured of it.  It forced me to write about something whether I was feeling it or not and sometimes the posts that I never would have thought to write turned out to be the ones that people responded most enthusiastically to.  Still, it was hard to maintain that schedule and with fieldwork and travel I would have to plan ahead and schedule weeks or even months of previously prepared posts (like this one) in order to maintain that Monday/Wednesday/Friday pattern.

On the downside, that create a lot of "filler" posts that were not necessarily on the major themes of this blog, which are archaeology, craft, and artifact reproductions.  My schedule, work, and interests change a lot through the year and when I'm working on some projects it seems like three posts a week isn't enough.  At other times it's a struggle to come up with content that is on theme and I end up posting weak or off-topic posts.

Groswater Endblade
Beginning with post 1001, I'm going to start going off schedule, but not off topic.  I don't know whether I'm going to blog more or blog less and I don't know when the next post will go up, other than it will be when I have something to say.

Thanks everyone that has tuned in so far. Hopefully I'll have some stories and photos from the field soon.


 Photo Credits: Tim Rast
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