We headed to the field this morning. There were a few glitches, as always in Arctic fieldwork, and a few minor issues that could have been avoided with a bit of planning ahead. The Rule of 6 Ps applies here, as in so much of life.
The first order of business was to get the gear stashed in a suitable fashion. UMIAQ had come out and put ties on the tents so there was a way to keep the flaps open, and even built some benches out of driftwood, complete with a stump they had set up for a stool in front sort of like a lecture hall. They told me this evening the stump was meant for me to sit on when addressing the crew (!) but so far it only got used for balancing on one foot on.
Once that was taken care of, the crew got pin flags and set forth to do a surface survey of the area inland of where we left off last summer. We have done this for seven years now, and we are finding less than we used to in these walkovers, but there is always something that works its way to the surface. There were a couple of bird blunts, a marble and some other odds & ends that we managed to shoot in with the transit and collect, but the big find, since our goal is in part to keep the former residents of Nuvuk from eroding into the ocean and learn about them at the same time, was the discovery of a grave. It was in the middle of the trail that people use on that side of Point Barrow, and had clearly been exposed by traffic, which had scattered some parts. We recorded the scattered elements, and have set up barriers so no one can drive over the person by accident. Dennis O’Rourke gets here tomorrow, so we will excavate the burial on Thursday, when he can take the aDNA samples.
It was sort of foggy and windy, and really looked like it should be miserable, but it was oddly warm and bright, just really foggy most of the day. Everyone kept remarking on how weird, but nice, the weather was. Hoping for more of the same…