Sunday, July 31, 2011

"Reindeer and Caribou are often intermingled and difficult to tell the difference, they are owned by herders and are rounded up for the season's antler culling as a profitable venture to sell to Korea. I can approach them if in stealth mode otherwise they are skittish and will show you their rear for the best possible photo shot!"
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"Sod house, mostly built from driftwood, whale bone, mammoth tusks and roofed with sod.  This had been a typical house along the Chukchi Sea beach regions.  Boats were pulled up the shore on rollers by villagers or carried to sheltered racks if they were kayaks.  Hunters along these sea beaches were constantly looking out to sea, with one 'eye' on shore for bears and caribou.  Raids were the occasion from the inland rivers by the Indian folk that had issues with the coastal Inuit and sometimes arrowheads were used for a different purpose."
"Ipiutak Inuit prehistoric end blade insert for a walrus ivory fore-shaft.  It was typical of advanced Inuit hunters to have replaceable fore-shafts that could be inserted into an arrow-shaft in the event of breakage. I have only one that was ground of nephrite jade from the Kotzebue region, but it is regrettable that it no longer is in my collection.  With my future return expeditions to this region in some future I still yet may replace it, meanwhile, there are many more 'out there' that are available for diligent search.  Imagine, the amount of seasons in history whereby these Inuit and their ancestors have hunted regularly utilizing these blades on a daily basis and then to imagine how many of these blades had been used for say...thousands of years!"  "As far as I can tell, these stone artifacts will last for untold thousands of years with little evidence of wear and erosion."
"Long Arrow projectile blade, with a fore-shaft of Woolly Mammoth Ivory, discovered in the Kotzebue region, of Alaska. The lacing had been restored as the original find did not have lacing attachments. So many of such discoveries I have, were never excavated but are frequently discovered in sand blow-outs on Arctic beaches, gravel bars on creeks and rivers and on observation sites on 'over-looks' and plateaus that have viewpoints of entire areas utilized by ancient hunters as far back as the Ice Age."
"Remarkable ancient Inuit end blade in keeping with Ipiutak micro-blade technology, beautiful blue-green cryptocrystalline chert, as with a length of 2.5 inches, and as thin as 1/16th of an inch...discovered in a sand blow-out beach ridge on the Choris Peninsula.  There were an assorted degree of flint type shards scattered throughout the entire beach ridge formations as well as many walrus vertebrates, bearded seal remnants and many small variety of bones of rabbit and crane, as many are caused by Toklat Grizzlies digging out squirrel burrows."  One can search areas for many hours, and not unlike 'big game' fishing, suddenly you have a strike and a fabulous artifact surfaces and makes it's...appearance."
"Arctic Clovis discovered on a high ridge overview above the American River south of Brevig Mission and Teller Alaska, Seward Peninsula.  This was a 'surface' discovery and had not been exposed by erosion, but had existed at location since it's loss or deposit. The entire region is a major site of ancient hunters, shards of broken blades and chert fragments are common and the elevated area is probably over 500 feet in elevation taking in the entire region, valley and river."'note the abundance of lichen deposits on blade surface'

"A recent hunter's 'blind' and observation post. This is and even in prehistoric times was a common method of hunting most animals that came through their areas. Caribou also followed the coastal areas to use the winds to drive away the mosquitoes, and bears were always in the same areas due to winter kill marine mammals that drifted out on the beaches to be used by the many preditors. Ravens always were a signal to beach washed winter kill and all hunters kept vigil." "Even to this day, the recent Inuit leave behind weaponry and objects of the hunt as in the ancient past...hunters had also did."
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"This is a recent (blind) and 'Look-Out' post for Inuit hunters. Used for waterfowl, and marine mammals, that is built up with driftwood. The majority of driftwood initially arrived by spillover by the Yukon river to the south that washed into the Bering Sea and drifted north to be deposited on beaches in the high Arctic. There are no native trees in this region of the Arctic and all native villagers were reliant on this supply. Ancient houses were all build utilizing this driftwood source as well has arrows and harpoon shafts and a myriad of utility items."
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"This is a more 'expanded' view of the 'over-look' with the 'Squirrel Burrow site' south of Kotzebue, Alaska near the Choris Peninsula, I have noticed that when this was a 'look-out' post for ancient Inuit hunters it must have eroded down the hill somewhat as most of the area had done so with regards to the proximety of the artifacts in relation to level ground. The lower center of the photo is the burrow and with a closer view, one can see the two harpoons near the entrance."
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Saturday, July 30, 2011

"Ground Squirrel entrance, and with a very close examination you can see a small amount of 'recently exposed' bone section. This is the first harpoon toggle I exposed by with little effort by just scraping away the loose soil. The unusual lack of chert or flint shards around a discovery like this is uncommon. The flint shards are always an indicator to a site, although it is most common in nomadic short termed camps. In this case, a shrot term camp, has no charcoal present, or flint shards, so it must just be a day site used for viewing the sea for any passing Seals. Walrus or Belugas. These harpoons were for small sized sea mammals not anything as large as a Walrus of Beluga, but most likely these prehistoric hunters did have larger harpoons available to them perhaps at this site."
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"I usually just scrape away a little of the loose soil to look for any broken 'flakes' that are common for the arrowhead production that is a normal discovery around any Inuit site, but in this occasion I found no such flake debris, but instead a golden colored bone...that turned out to be a Toggle Harpoon Point."
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"After discovering the first 'Toggle Harpoon Point" I scraped carefully with my fingers and discovered another just behind."
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"I most always explore any animal burrow I come across and most of the time I discover nothing for the effort, but once in a while, there is to my surprise something disocvered, a bone, a small rodent skull, or in this case two perfect Caribou antler harpoon end points lying side by side after a rodent exposed them near the entry of his burrow. "There was nothing else discovered at this burrow, and it must have been a hunter's look-out on a bank with the clear view of the Chukchi Sea. The bottom harpoon had a slate stone blade insert that I found after this photo was taken."
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"South Kotzebue, looking 'south' towards Choris Peninsula, Alaska. Notice that the beaches are both right and left on this peninsula affording a great opportunity of camping and beach combing. Many variety of Woolly Mammoth tusks have been discovered along both sides of these coastlines as the entire area is a Pleistocene Ice Age deposit. This region is laced with ancient dwellings of historic, prehistoric and paleoInuit sites that have never been archaeologically disturbed. I have spent years in these areas and never have as yet view it all. The discovries is a life long quest, and never disappointed."
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"Chukchi Sea coastal camping and explorations will display a variety of marine mammals vertebrates and other bones in rather abundance. Sometimes an entire whale with Toklat Grizzly Bears hanging around their free lunch...a good time to circumvent the area in passing. All of the little rocks and in different colors can actually be a walrus tusk section, or an Orca whale tooth and once in a while an entire skull. It is my desire to discover the many Pleistocene fossils that are lying on these beaches from the permafrost erosin caused by storms...such as Woolly Mammoth Tusks, Mastodon Tusks, and in a rare occasion a 'Saber Tooth cat tusk."
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"Kotzebue village, with the airport on the far lower right of the photograph, and thus begins the many past expeditions from this point, to the left of the photograph is 'north' to Cape Krusenstern' of three thousand ancient house sites of prehistoric Inuit (extinct) and as I go further north, as it goes to Point Hope, to parts greater in distance.  To the south is Choris Peninsula and Buckland River to the west towards Deering village.  All of this region is ancient in every description, from the Ice Age to occupants of paleo-Inuit...for hundreds of coastal miles."
"Beach combing for five months along the Chukchi coast near Kotzebue, Alaska, had wonderful natural experiences, life changing and challenging.  During this 'storm' I was stranded along the coast for three days due to winds and some rain.  I was surprised to discover that the storm brought artifacts and ivory from the ocean, deposited them on the beaches and reclaimed them again. It was so all day and night as the waves brought bones, shells, mammoth ivory, artifacts, and small stones back and forth to the beach sands."  "I spent the entire time walking the beaches discovering." "Even though I was stranded I was well entertained!"
"Creek 'cut bank' as it erodes from season to season from thousands of years of  'those whom walked this way.'  Up and down the river systems I traverse, are feeder creeks that harbor ancient settlements, villages, of Inuit, nomads, moving up and down the tributaries, in search for seasonal migrations, of caribou, and fish.  It is common to discover artifacts about these systems, it is however uncommon to discover such sculptures of ancient folks that lived here, especially in the creeks they often camped.  Their children, especially the girls, carried their treasured dolls about for their joy, as the boys carried toy...bows with arrows and harpoons."
"Unusually red colored sand mixed with fine gravel, and with close observance, there is sod deposited in the creek, as the roots and peat moss shows.  As fortune goes, there is a ancient ivory carving just lying in the ancient house sod...that dropped into the creek from above...especially not covered in debris...but for my discovery."
"From an ancient house of perhaps 1200 years in age, and deposited on a gravel and sand river bar.  A prize of a discovery, ancient walrus ivory 'Doll' more than four inches in length.  If one looks long enough and covers enough ground, this is what it takes to discover such objects of ancient art." 
"Just relaxing as moving down stream for miles and setting up camp, thinking of dinner, watching Grayling trout rippling the water's surface, then a Pike with rows of sharp teeth, snap at the smaller fish, as a Caribou breaks through the brush for a crossing.  All this before I can boil water, for coffee.  Then a fox cub barks in the tundra somewhere as Canadian geese reverse their direction on the river as they spot me, their chicks forced ahead of the flotilla." "When I get rested and finish the meal, I search the gravel for ancient Inuit artifacts, sometimes I find a 'bola weight' of a walrus tooth, a fishing net sinker of bone, or ivory, or an arrowhead, polished by centuries of river wear."
"On gravel, regular tent stakes do not stay in place during any storm, and it is not nice to get up in the night (which is still day time in the Arctic summer) and try to tie down anything including the tent sides.  So I use Mammoth tusks that I discover along the way and does a great job, there just isn't any wood, rocks or anything to tie to...when the winds blow."
"Sometimes a storm from the north (Siberia) will come through and make things wet and the wind does blow.  I just could not keep my feeble tent stakes to stay in place with all the wind,  so I grabbed one Mammoth tusk section and tied it to the rain tarp, and read a good book...and took a nap" 
"The 'headwaters' of the Buckland River, just in from of a non-disclosed 'Gold Mine' potential (placer deposits identical to the deposits in Candle mine) that the village keeps secret from inquirers, I gained ground as my only interests were Mammoth fossils. This region has thousands of years of native Inuit occupation, and their indications are along the river banks...abundantly."  "It is not a broken log in the gravel bar, but a section of Woolly Mammoth Tusk, for my studio"  "Even though it is perhaps 20,000 years in age, it is still quality...ivory."
"1980 Buckland village arriving upriver approximately 30 miles from 'Elephant Point' to visit and resupply.  I met just wonderful friends there and journeyed even further south up river another 20 miles.  There I discovered ancient Woolly Mammoth tusks and fragments along with a very rich placer gold gravels parallel to the mine called Candle, a few miles to the west.  I saw my first wild Muskox as this bull raced past me in a near panic tearing up tundra and flinging sod many feet in the air.  An ancient village eroding out from the river dumping artifacts along the gravel bank, a complete dark brown native skull lay wedged between clumps of sod, and a set of 'jet' labrets nearby.  An Arctic fox in molt, looks on from a few feet away, and ravens following the nestling geese...upriver."