Starting to Get Ready to Begin… (Live from the Armadillo World Headquarters!)

It’s been a busy week, between preparations for the Walakpa field season, an interesting polar bear that a  local resident found eroded onto the beach, and other projects at work.

Getting ready for the Walakpa project involves a lot of moving parts.  We’ve got to get the lab ready to handle material coming from the field, get the logistics worked out, get field equipment ready to go, get all the permits and paperwork taken care of, and I’ve got to get my own personal gear set as well.

We have been moving Nuvuk shovel test pit materials from the artifact cabinets in the lab to museum storage boxes, to make space in the lab for Walakpa materials.  We will have a small lab crew this summer, and hope to have a conservator come up for a few weeks later in the year (he’s busy during the summer with his job).  One of the lab sinks had no hot water, and it turned out that the valve was in the ceiling and several shelves needed to be moved.  Dakota and Devin asked if they could move some other furniture, I said yes, and they really reorganized the space.  I think it may wind up being more effective, and it let them get the shelves with the electronics set up and further away from the sinks.   Dakota is inventorying our supplies of vials and canisters for storing small delicate artifacts, and in the process he has been able to rationalize their storage a bit.  I’ll be making an order for Ziplock bags large and small, along with a number of other field supplies.   The Sharpies are here already!

While moving the lab around, we were also able to test all of our handheld radios, and figure out which ones need new battery packs.  I’ve ordered them, and hope they make it before the field season starts.  I’ve got the transit batteries tested, and am sending most of them out to Anchorage to be recelled, since they aren’t holding a charge as well as they should, and being outside won’t help.  Hopefully the logistics folks will be able to check the tents and such, and we can repair or replace whatever needs it.

IHLC is going to contribute to the effort by letting us use field equipment that they bought a few years ago with ECHO grant money.  That will help a lot with sleeping tents &sleeping bags for those who don’t have them, as well as with kitchen gear for a sizable group.

I went over a draft safety plan with UIC Science’s HSET person, and she sent me a fairly generic draft which I commented on.  It will get revised, this week I hope.  We’ve also had discussions about bear safety/ firearms safety (sort of related topics).   We are also trying to see if anyone in town is selling bear spray (AC doesn’t) or if we can ship it in.  I’ve sent around a draft emergency contact form and asked the folks who bring students to the field if they had any additions.  So far, Ben Fitzhugh has had some suggestions.  I’ll give folks a couple of days, and then send around the revised version.

Meanwhile, I’ve been ordering stuff I need, like waterproofer for down gear, and a new Helly Hansen Jarvik jacket (I finally blew the cuff tighteners out of my old one last year).  I’ve got to put up my tent and check the waterproofing, etc., although it was fine the last time I used it.  I also sprang for an InReach.  We should have one from UIC Science as well, but redundancy in emergency communication devices is a very good thing, and it will let me post short updates.

And of course, I’ve got to get ready in other ways.  I’m scheduled to renew my First Aid/CPR (for something like the 45th time) later this week.  And I am working out, since a winter of lots of writing is not conducive to staying in the best of shape, particularly when fighting off bronchitis for a month.  As our HSET Director said in a memo this week, when talking about his commitment to using handrails all the time, “my mind keeps writing checks that my body can’t cash,” and I’m trying to change that equation.

 

 

Gear list posted

I just put up a new page with the gear list that I’m sending to the folks who are volunteering to help with the archaeological salvage at Walakpa this summer.  I thought it might be interesting to people.

If you have experience camping up here and notice anything you think is missing, please drop me a line :-).

UPDATE 5/29/16:  I added something to the list, thanks to a good suggestion from Randall O.

Boxes and Boxes

Tony and I spent the day going through boxes containing animal bones from the 1990s excavations at Pingusugruk.  Tony made a list of boxes that contained the sample bags we wanted, which we then had to find in the warehouse.

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There were over 300 boxes from that site, so it was a long day.  We didn’t have to open all the boxes, thank goodness, but we had to move most of them.  I suspect I’ll be sore tomorrow.  Not really in full fieldwork shape yet, unfortunately.

Tomorrow, we’ll do a bit of modeling, before Tony leaves on the evening plane.

Lab work

So far it has been pretty busy with Tony here.  He’d picked out a number of possible samples in advance, and we’ve been finding them.  I’ve also been going through the column samples we took last year at Walakpa, and finding contexts that have 2-3 datable samples of both land and marine animal bone.  That way, there will be multiple terrestrial dates to give us both a date on the level and information to use to develop correction factors for marine mammal bones.  Marine mammal bones tend to give radiocarbon dates that are too old, but sometimes they are the only thing available to date.  People generally don’t run dates in those circumstances, but if there were decent correction factors available it would be possible.

We went over to the Inupiat Heritage Center this morning to look at the material they have from Utkiagvik.  It looks like there is enough for a whole project there, although the location of the 1981 field notes was unknown for the moment.  Some of the staff came out to the lab later and looked at a couple of sewn objects.  The mystery one is made out of gut which has been stitched to form a sort of pointed tube, although it is pretty crumpled up.  If we get a conservator to visit, it would be great if they were able to rehydrate it a bit and straighten it out.

Tomorrow we are going to be going through boxes of faunal material from Pingusugruk to find suitable samples.  There are hundreds of boxes, so Tony is trying to select some contexts to pull, and then I have to ID appropriate bones.  I am really hoping that the intern  shows up for work.

On the Walakpa front, I’ve been talking with the UIC Science logistics folks, working on how to handle temporary housing for those transiting in and out of the field, and starting to work on travel arrangements.

Radiocarbon dates

I have been really busy the last month, trying to finish several reports and papers, plan for the summer, and get ready for a research visit from Tony Krus of SUERC, who was a member of the 2008 Nuvuk field crew before he headed off to grad school.  He is now Dr. Krus, and was able to get a grant to come over and work on Bayesian modeling for Barrow area dates, as well as attempting to improve the value for DeltaR (a correction factor used with radiocarbon dates on marine organisms to compensate for the excess older carbon found in the oceans).  Between the massive amount of writing I was doing and smashing a finger getting luggage out of the overhead coming back from a trip, I’ve not been blogging.

I hope to catch up with things a bit; there’s been considerable activity on the DONOP/global change threats to cultural and natural heritage front, as well as planning for Walakpa.

Talking about Climate Change and Threats to Heritage

I spent most of the day talking about climate change threats to cultural heritage and archaeological resources.  I started off at a fairly conventional session about archaeology at various sites in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest, which had a number of interesting papers, many based on analysis of well-preserved faunal remains.

I then went on to the first formal meeting of the newest SAA committee, on Climate Change Strategies and Archaeological Response (CCSAR).  Dan Sandweiss, who is the SAA board liaison, as well as being one of the earlier people to call attention to the importance of archaeological sites as archives of paleoenvironmental data, as well as the obvious archaeological data.  It seems to be a really great group of people,working in a lot of different places, all of which are having some climate issues.  Most of them are interested not only in saving data, but in what that data can tell us about past climates, and about how people adapted to changes in them.  As one person said, “We really don’t have much data about the Archaic, the last time people lived sustainably in North America.”  This may be a bit of an exaggeration, especially for Alaska, but basically the idea is correct.

After that, I had to go to an appointment in the book room.  We will see what comes of that in due time.

Then there was another interesting session on Heritage Tools for Tackling Climate Change.  This included a variety of talks on ways people are dealing with the effects of climate change.  One had to do with melting ice patches in Glacier National Park, and how the Park Service had dealt with material coming out, in consultation with the local Native American community, as well as studies they were doing so they could be proactive.  Another paper included information on the California Cultural Resource Management (CRM) community’s efforts to get public lands on the coast surveyed completely.

There was some discussion about whether the US ban on revealing any site location data helps or hurts.  Most other countries will reveal that data, although they may wait until very valuable materials have been properly excavated in some cases.  They have found that it decreases looting, if anything.  It also helps people avoid inadvertent damage that happens when people don’t know a site is there, and lets them report on changes in site conditions. So instead of a few archaeologists, lots of people can keep an eye on the sites.  Here they can’t do that.  I suspect, as do many others, that the people who are serious looters already know where the sites are, and have a pretty good idea where to prospect for more.  On the other hand, when the US government shut down for a couple of weeks in 2013, looting exploded in the National Parks.

Tomorrow morning the session I organized on Global Change Threats to the Archaeological and Paleoecological Record (not snappy, but lots of buzzwords for search engines) happens.

Archaeology at Disney World. Seriously.

I am writing this from Disney World, where I have gone to talk about archaeology, particularly global change threats to the archaeological and paleoecological records.  The Society for American Archaeology is having its 81st Annual Meeting here, so I am sitting on the 11th floor of a hotel with a view across a lot of fairly low lying land.  It might be high enough to survive several meters of sea level rise, but by 20m, the Orlando airport looks like it gets iffy.

I organized a session on, surprise, global change threats to the archaeological and paleoecological records.  It should be good, with people presenting on various aspects of the problem in various part of the world (mostly the North), and some possible solutions being tried as well.  The session is Saturday morning, and we’ve got Ben Fitzhugh from UW as discussant, as well as a 15 minute discussion slot.  I hope we get good attendance, because this is a critical issue for the future of the discipline (and maybe of people in general).  Of course, in their infinite wisdom, the schedulers put us directly opposite the session in honor of Lou Giddings, which deals with coastal Alaska.  I actually have to read a paper for someone because the primary author couldn’t travel and the second author is giving a paper in the Giddings session at the same time!  Meanwhile, I’d already gone to most of the papers I want to see today by 10:30 AM.

Last night I went to the President’s Forum, which was on Climate Change and Archaeology.  Dan Sandweiss had organized a nice set of speakers.  One of them was Paul Mayewski,who specializes in ice cores and their analysis. He talked about some new software they have, and then he described a new instrument they have which can sample cores in tiny increments, so they can actually see individual storms thousands of years ago in the right type of core!  I introduced myself afterwards, and asked if it might work on ice wedges, following up on a suggestion Vlad Romanovsky had made during ASSW.  He thought so, and offered to pay to ship a trial wedge sample to his lab so they could try it.  Now I just have to get a good sample.  Hopefully it works, but either way it will be interesting.

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I’ve got a meeting later today (and another on Saturday for those who can’t make today’s) for folks who want to help with 2016 Walakpa Archaeological Salvage (WASP 2016).  Today we meet at 5PM at registration, and anyone who is interested is free to come along.  Now I have to run off and find the meeting of the newest SAA committee, Climate Change Strategies and Archaeological Resources (CCSAR).

Getting the word out–or the library is on fire!

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Ukkuqsi eroding in a late summer storm.

Folks who have been reading this blog are aware that erosion of archaeological sites due to global change effects (warming, sea level rise, etc.) is a huge problem where I live and work.  Rapid decay of the exquisitely preserved organic contents of the sites is also a huge problem.  But a blog only reaches so many people and actually dealing with the sites and otherwise doing my day job means that I can’t spend endless time on outreach.  So when a member of the media is interested, I take the time to talk to them.  Sometimes something comes of it, other times not.

Last summer Eli Kintisch, who writes for a number of scientific publications came up and spent a few days in Barrow.  He managed to spend a day at Walakpa, although his schedule meant he couldn’t be there for the whole thing.  He’s been working on it since, and I think the result is pretty engaging.  The resulting article was just published by Hakai Magazine here and simultaneously by the Smithsonian website here.  Hakai focuses on coastal issues and just recently published an article on Tom Dawson and SCAPE’s work in Scotland dealing with similar problems (minus the permafrost thawing and sea ice retreat).

It’s a big problem, and one that will take a considerable input of human and financial resources to deal with.  We’ve only got a few decades (less in many cases) before all the cultural heritage and paleoenvironmental information in these sites is gone for good.

2015-07-28 16.42.32-3
Tests in a midden at Walakpa.  A new date shows it is Late Western Thule, between 300-500 years old.
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Column sample at Walakpa, Summer 2015.

Arctic Observing Open Science Meeting

I spent most of the week in Seattle at the Arctic Observing Open Science meeting.  Ben Fitzhugh and I were the point persons for the broader GHEA/IHOPE Emerging Knowledge Hub on Global Environmental Change Threats to Heritage and Long Term Observing Networks of the Past.  This is a long and fancy way of talking about the threats that sea level rise, ice retreat, and permafrost warming pose for archaeological sites in the North.  Since this was not an archaeological meeting, most of the folks were either natural scientists or resource managers.  We focused on the kind of data that archaeological sites contain that are more than relevant to answering the kinds of questions they are asking, while pointing out that the data is vanishing quickly.  The library is on fire!

Waves eat at the Utqiaġvik bluffs.
Waves eat at the Utqiaġvik bluffs.

Ben and I each were the lead on a talk (both massively multi-authored), and we also did a poster, with a similarly large number of contributors.  Ben’s talk was in the Marine Ecosystems session.  It seemed like it interested the audience, which was primarily oceanographers, and related agency and funding folks.

Mine was in the Human Dimensions session, since the Coastal Processes session we had aimed for apparently didn’t get enough papers.  I followed a paper on frozen heritage (primarily ice patches and the preliminary stages of development of site evaluation schema) by Martin Callanan and Shelby Anderson, so the issues were thoroughly driven home.  The audience included a number of natural scientists (!), and the discussions included the relevance of archaeology to both other fields of research and to developing toolkits for sustainability.

Our hope is we woke some of our colleagues up to both the potential of archaeological sites to provide data, and the need to find a way to get that data that doesn’t rely entirely on Arctic Social Science funding.

My talk and the poster are up on both my Academia.edu and ResearchGate pages, if you would like to see them.

Reports, reports, reports

I’ve spent the last month writing almost non-stop.  However, none of it was posts on here.  We had done a number of CRM projects this summer, and the results had to be written up.  Five reports later, that is more or less done, pending a couple of possible new illustrations.

I’m working on a couple of projects for a client who is in the early stages of planning some big infrastructure projects.  Instead of waiting until the design and site selection is nearly complete and then considering cultural resources, which often leads to unfortunate surprises, unnecessary expenses and project delays (which are then blamed on archaeology instead of poor project planning), they are actually trying to get a handle on what cultural resources might be located in the possible Area of Potential Effect (APE) and what dealing with them appropriately might entail.  This  seems like a way better approach and should be a win-win.

This weekend, I’m working on a paper and a poster for the Arctic Observing Open Science Meeting in Seattle in 2 weeks.  I had hoped to give the paper in a proposed Coastal session, but apparently there weren’t that many coastal papers, so it looks like I’ll be in the Human Dimensions session.  Sort of ironic, given that I’m talking about the paleoenvironmental data that Arctic sites can contain, and how that data is at imminent risk of being destroyed by global change effects, and pretty much taking the human dimension information potential as a given.  That’s pretty much been the basic premise of archaeology since the days of CJ Thomsen & JJA Worsaae.  I’m spending a part of next week in Anchorage, so I want to get it more or less done before I go.

Vienna & CHAGS

From Glasgow, we went on to Vienna and CHAGS (the Conference on Hunting and Gathering Societies), by way of Düsseldorf.  The Düsseldorf airport is not high on my list of airports in Europe.

In Vienna, we stayed in Hotel-Pension Bleckmann, a nice family-run hotel near the University, where all the conference sessions were being held.  The hotel had great breakfasts, and the staff was really nice and very helpful.  They recommended a restaurant that had great food and a local clientele, so it was more reasonable than the more touristy places.

Glenn having dinner at D'Landsknect, Porzellengasse.
Glenn having dinner at D’Landsknect, Porzellengasse.

The conference was very interesting.  Both Glenn & I were giving papers in a session on Aboriginal Whaling in the 21st Century.  I talked about the archaeological evidence for whaling in Alaska, and Glenn talked about the late pre-contact/protohistoric whaling-centric system in North Alaska.  There were a number of other northern papers in the session, including papers on Central and Eastern Canadian whaling archaeology from Jim Savelle and Peter Whitridge, as well as papers on whaling in places like Korea & Bequia.  There were 51 other sessions, all having to do with hunting and gathering groups.  Of course there were a lot of northern papers, but some of the other papers were very interesting as well.  The organizing committee and the students really made an effort to have a green conference, including the food and drinks served at breaks, and all in all it was quite fun.

We ran into a couple of hooded crows in one of the courtyards on campus.  Oddly, we’d seen one at the University of Glasgow as well.

Hooded crow.
Hooded crows.

The campus has all sort of restaurants and beer gardens more or less on or next to it.  It was very convenient after sessions.  Several times we wound up at Steigel-Ambulanz.  This was a restaurant/beer garden right across a walkway from the area where the sessions were concentrated.  It featured seriously large portions, but the food was very good.  We also had a dinner at Universitätsbräuhaus, which was more or less across the quad.

 

Seriously large (and very carefully arranged) caprese salad).
Seriously large (and very carefully arranged) caprese salad).
Claire Alix about to enjoy that salad.
Claire Alix about to enjoy that salad.

The conference banquet was held in a banquet hall in the Wiener Rathauskeller.   That literally means the cellar of the city hall, and that’s exactly where it is, in the basement of Vienna City Hall.  It is set up for  banquets (and also as a restaurant).  The food was great, and Richard Lee (of Man the Hunter fame) was honored for his contributions.  He was just back from something like his 50th field season!

Conference banquet in Wiener Rathauskeller.
Conference banquet in Wiener Rathauskeller.

Vienna had more places that only took cash than do most cities these days.  We wound up having to wake quite a way to find a bank that exchanged money, since we needed more Euros than we had exchanged in the first place.  On the way, we stopped by the Spanish Riding School (home of the Lipizzaner stallions), and booked a stable tour for the next afternoon, when there weren’t any sessions we simply needed to hear.  The building the Riding School is in had a stratified archaeological site under the plaza in front of it, and portions had been preserved with a wall around it.

Archaeological site in Michaelerplatz. There are portions of a Roman road, Roman fortifications, and even 18th century apartments and drains exposed.
Archaeological site in Michaelerplatz.  There are portions of a Roman road, Roman fortifications, and even 18th century apartments and drains exposed.  The entrance to the Winter Riding School is in the background.

The next day we went for the stable tour.  It was pretty interesting, and the stables were very nice, although we weren’t allowed to take pictures in the actual stables.  Much like the Royal Stables in Denmark, the horses were all in box stalls, but you could see they had been converted from tie stalls at some point in the past.

Entrance to the Hofburg from Michaelerplatz. The Riding School is on the left of the main archway.
Entrance to the Hofburg from Michaelerplatz. The Riding School is on the left of the main archway.
Largest walker in the world.
Largest walker in the world.
Saddles in the tack room at the Winter Riding School.
Saddles in the tack room at the Spanish Riding School.
The Winter Riding School.
The Winter Riding School.

 

Chandelier at the Winter Riding School.
Chandelier at the Winter Riding School.

Believe it or not, when it was built, the Winter Riding School hall was considered very simple in design, the better to show off the horses!

We walked back to our hotel through the Hofburg grounds.  Being in Vienna really brings home that until pretty recently, it was the seat of a major empire.

Gardens in Vienna.
Gardens in Vienna.
Display rose garden. It seemed to have one bush of each variety of rose, clearly labeled.
Display rose garden. It seemed to have one bush of each variety of rose, clearly labeled.

 

Another garden.
Another garden.

I couldn’t resist adding this.  The German for ice cream is “eis” and this is an ice cream shop.

An ice cream shop in Vienna.
An ice cream shop in Vienna.

EAA 2015 and Glasgow

We went to Glasgow where the 2014 European Archaeology Association was held, by way of Anchorage and Reykjavik.  Because flights from Barrow are disrupted fairly frequently, we went down a bit early, and had a chance to visit with our daughter.  There was a pretty amazing double rainbow and a nice lenticular cloud.

The rainbow
The rainbow
Closer shot of the rainbow
Closer shot of the rainbow
Lenticular cloud over the Church Mts.
Lenticular cloud over the Church Mts.

We flew Icelandair to Reykjavik and then from there to Glasgow.  Glasgow was great.  The people who live there seem really proud of their city.  The cab driver on the way in from the airport was recommending museums, and in particular Christ of Saint John on the Cross by Dali at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Musuem.  Glasgow was once the second most prosperous  city in the UK, and the residents seem to have been very civic-minded.  The Kelvingrove was built to house the collections that were donated by prominent Glaswegians, using funds from an international exposition and public subscriptions.  It houses a fair bit of Charles Rennie Mackintosh material.  We got in a good visit our last day there.  Unfortunately, some of the other Mackintosh venues were under renovation.

The Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
The Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
Charles Rennie Mackintosh cabinet
Charles Rennie Mackintosh cabinet
Charles Rennie Mackintosh table & chairs.
Charles Rennie Mackintosh table & chairs from one of the famous tea room interiors.

The meetings were held in various venues at the University, including some very old lecture halls and more modern buildings.

University of Glasgow Main Building tower
University of Glasgow Main Building tower
Nuvuk Archaeology Project alum Dr. Tony Krus chairing a session in a centuries-old lecture hall
Nuvuk Archaeology Project alum Dr. Tony Krus chairing a session in a centuries-old lecture hall

We spent most of our time around the University.  There were a number of good restaurants & pubs, particularly along Ashton Lane.  We tried a bunch of them.  We never made it to this one,which was apparently an isolated inn before Glasgow got so big, near a pond where local curlers used to throw rocks.  This is apparently where they went afterwards back then, as curlers are wont to do :-).

Curlers' Rest
Curler’s Rest

Our session (Archaeology and Climate Change) was heavily advertised.  Tom Dawson, the organizer, had managed to get leaflets put up all around campus before the session, so it was very well attended.  As you can see, there were participants from all over.  I talked about the threats to frozen coastal sites from climate change, with an emphasis on the Barrow area.  I was able to incorporate images from the storm that had happened the week before.  There were some other pretty bad situations, but none that were worse.  On the other hand, some people are making strides in dealing with these issues with public help, which is good given the turn-around time for even successful funding applications.

Poster for our session on
Poster for our session on Archaeology and Climate Change.

The conference featured a very nice party, spread across two venues, both within a block of our hotel!  One was Òran Mór, a converted church which now houses performance space and a bar.  The upstairs had been rented for the party.  It had obviously been redone from its days as a church.  The other was the glass house at the Glasgow Botanic Gardens, just across the way.

Òran Mór from the outside, with a blue halo on the tower.
Òran Mór from the outside, with a blue halo on the tower.
Interior space at Òran Mór
Interior space at Òran Mór, with a crowd of EAA delegates
Approaching the Glass House at the Glasgow Botanic Garden
Approaching the Glass House at the Glasgow Botanic Garden

The conference banquet was held in the main hall at the Kelvingrove.  It was sponsored by Glenmorangie (the distillery near Glasgow) so there were samples of a couple of their special products.  After the speeches and dinner, there was a fine band and dancing.

Dancing at Kelvingrove. BT Wygal and Katie Krazinski by pillar at center.
Dancing at Kelvingrove. BT Wygal and Katie Krazinski by pillar at center.

A busy autumn

When I last posted I had just left for a trip to two conferences in Europe.  Since then, I’ve been in 4 countries, given two papers (at EAA 2015 in Glasgow and CHAGS 11 in Vienna), submitted an organized SAA session for next spring, come home, gone to Fairbanks for shotgun qualification, come back home, had two of the WALRUS project participants up here to cut samples from the bones that the interns have been finding in the collections, written part of two reports, drafted two abstracts for a meeting in November, and started on a proposal for an edited volume dealing with climate change & archaeology.  I haven’t managed to post at all.

Last week was a tough week for Barrow in many ways, with the deaths of several community members, including long-time mayor Nate Olemaun Jr..  On a brighter note, Barrow took three whales on Friday, and another three today.

Videos, and reports of more erosion

I managed to get a couple of videos of the evaluation of things exposed by erosion at Ukkuqsi on Thursday uploaded to YouTube.  You can see them here,  and here.

Unfortunately, the erosion continued, and additional items were exposed after I left for a trip to two conferences in Europe, possibly including human remains (this is the site where the little frozen girl was found in 1994).  The North Slope Borough is taking care of the situation at the moment.

Things have eroded out elsewhere in the Barrow area as well.  At one point I was on the phone with someone from the North Slope Borough about one site, when someone else called about something found at another location entirely.  And I now have a voicemail about yet another location!

Yet More Erosion

There is a very large storm, with winds up to 50 mph and big waves from the west battering the Chukchi coastline from Barrow south.  It has created a major storm surge, with big waves and coastal erosion.  An emergency has been declared in Barrow due to flooding and road damage.

I flew back from Wainwright yesterday evening, and even through the storm was just building, the waves were already hitting Walakpa.  I couldn’t get pictures but it did not look good.

Today was much worse.  Late this afternoon, I got a series of calls about something washing out at Ukkuqsi, where the little frozen girl Aġnaiyaaq was found.  Aqamak Okpik from IHLC got things organized, with Morrie Lemen coming out to NARL in a bigger truck than mine to take me in to take a look.  The North Slope Borough Fire Department came over, and two firefighters suited up and tied a rope onto me so I could go down and take a look.

View of Ukkuqsi from the north side.
View of Ukkuqsi from the north side.

The big concern was that a burial was eroding out, since there have been several in that area.  In the end, it looked like part of a house (maybe two superimposed) with a whalebone and a baleen toboggan.  We retrieved a few bones and a piece of structural wood that were going to fall in any minute, and hope to be able to get a radiocarbon date or two.  I only got hit by one big wave.

Closeup of eroding structure from the beach.
Closeup of eroding structure from the beach.

Hope to get some video or at least frame grabs available soon.