Friday, September 19, 2014

Sheshatshiu Archaeology Now On Display

"Archeological exhibit opens in North West River" is an article by Derek Montague published today in The Labradorian about a new display of artifacts from Sheshatshiu in the Labrador Interpretation Centre. The article explains the background of the exhibit based on the archaeological work carried out by Scott Neilsen and his crew ahead of housing construction in the community.  I was asked to make a few reproductions for the exhibit based on the artifacts recovered and this article was my first chance to see the reproductions in use and on display.

From the article:
The highlight of the exhibit is a display of artifact recreations. These replica tools are all based off of artifacts found at the site. They were built using only the materials that would have been available to the Innu 3,000 years ago. 
People visiting the exhibits can pick up the replica tools and imagine how they were utilized.

Scott Neilsen holding a reconstruction of a quartzite biface as an adze or gouge, with other reproductions in their cases behind him.
Photo Credits: Derek Montague, Screen Captures from The Labradorian  

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Adjusting to home life

I don't often get a chance to knap during the summer, but
 towards the end of the season this year, a geologist friend
brought me some Missouri chert that I couldn't resist trying.
The transition between the summer field season and the rest of the year can be challenging.  I don't know whether its more jarring to step out of my regular life in the spring or to be thrown back into it in the fall.  I'm not exactly sure how to explain what it feels like to be gone into the field for three or four months.  Its like taking all of your working hours in a year and lining them up end-to-end and then living them all in a row from June to September.  For those months, the only people you see are colleagues, the only places you go are to your workplace, and all conversations are work related.  The rest of the year is your home-life.  Fortunately, I like my summer work, so I look forward to it and miss it when its gone, but I also like my routines.  It takes time to settle back into my fall/winter patterns and judging by the backlog of e-mails and phone messages it should be a busy winter in the workshop.

Photo Credit: Tim Rast

Monday, September 15, 2014


Photo Credits: Tim Rast

Friday, September 12, 2014


Photo Credits: Tim Rast

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


The sun is setting and it's getting dark at night, so things like day and night and dusk and dawn are starting to mean something.
Photo Credits: Tim Rast

Monday, September 8, 2014

Sorted Polygonal Soil

The land on north Baffin Island is shaped by permafrost and there is very little soil and vegetation cover to hide the effects of the freeze-thaw cycle in the ground above the permanently frozen earth.  The landscape has been shaped by glaciers and meltwater run-off and then by several thousand years of annual freezing and melting cycles.  Patterned ground is common and can happen on a lot of different scales.  Some of the polygons are so large that they are only noticeable from the air, while others are more obvious on the ground.  This patch of sorted polygonal soil measures a couple of metres across. The sandy soil and naturally fractured plates of dolomite exaggerate the effect here.

 Photo Credits: Tim Rast

Friday, September 5, 2014

Arctic Foxes are Jerks

I love almost everything about the arctic, except the foxes.  This is the first Arctic Fox that I ever met, when I worked on Little Cornwallis Island, back in 1994 and he was a jerk.  He would visit  our camp regularly and lick the spot we poured our dishwater and chew through things like my knee pads or the leather strap on the shotgun.
But the absolute worst was when he would follow us to the outhouse (shown above) and try to crawl into the hole under the seat while you were sitting on it.  You had to take a handful of gravel to keep him at a distance until you were finished.  Some things should be done in peace, but Arctic foxes have no respect for that.  Because they are assholes.

These scruffy little brats are still following me around.  This is one that visited us at a recent site. (I don't know whether he's pissing or crapping on that rock. Probably both.)  As often as not, when we return to a site in the morning there are signs of a fox being there while we were away.  So far, we've come back to fox pee on the backdirt pile and the stadia rod (that we know of).  The thing about Arctic Foxes it that they find what it most dear to you and then they destroy it.  If they can't destroy it, then they crap or piss on it.  They've eaten pin flags and then spit them out so we would find the evidence.  Last night one chewed through the strings gridding out units and torn the flagging tape off of marking pins.  Not everyone's string or flags - just the ones closest to where I was digging.  We've come back to find their crap in our units, on the tarp covering our gear, and on the tote box where I was sitting the day before.  They find where I've been on site and then desecrate it.  I hate them.

 Photo Credits:
1,2: H. Gibbins
3: Tim Rast

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