12 July, 2001
Thursday started off with 15 visitors strolling down the mountain into the meadow, not too far from TEL 079 (North Trench). We were greeted by musk ox. They look similar to buffalo, they look Arctic though. I am not sure what looking Arctic is supposed to mean, but they really did look like they belong in this environment. They have large curved horns. They are the only high Arctic mammals that does not need or seek shelter during the severe weather of the Arctic region. Their hair or fur is similar to a lightweight fleece. Their only enemy is really a wolf (sometimes a polar bear) and they use their horns (watch out!). They are herbivores, eating sedge and willow. Musk ox are able to dig into most snow to find food, otherwise they move to another area. After all of this information, it was exciting to me to see them for the first time. Some of the people in the village said they are good to eat, others said they are a pest eating their food. They had wandered down to eat the greens in the lower meadow where the village people pick the greens. The greens taste very good. Not having fresh vegies we have been sampling the greens.
It is interesting to walk around the village of Wales. Once again, Wales is the most northwestern settlement in the continent. The people here are very nice. We are always offered a ride on a 4 wheeler. I have taken 2 rides, it is not my favorite thing to do in town, and I would rather walk (thinking I might fall off each time). There are only a few trucks in the village, I have not seen any cars at all. There is one road leading to Tin City which around 10 miles away. We were told not to take a long hike to Tin City because of the bears. If we were to go we should carry rifles. I do not think we will be going, but there are plenty of places to hike.
The Dig: We have been excavating TEL 079. It is a long hard day, exciting. Everyone gets charged up when anyone finds anything. John, who has been working over at TEL 026, Beach Ridge, with Amy, Margie, and Marie, has moved over to another area to do a test site. It would be great if John was able to find remnants of another house. We are also looking for possibly another house, artifacts or a circle of walrus skulls. Any finds would be great. John has pointed out to me one of the ways to determine where to dig. As you look over the bog most of the grassy area is yellow or brown, not bright green. The mound (TEL 079) is bright green. This area is very rich in organic materials, sort of like composting. The people who lived there deposited their bones, food etc. around the sod house. I know at home many people compost, this is the same idea. This is just one of the means in identifying a site, more proof there may be something. The more support, the better on any archaeological dig. The more data collected will re-enforce the reason for being in a certain area.
At the end of the workday it has become exciting to find out whose turn it is to cook supper and what we will be eating. We have more work to do after supper (paperwork, cataloging etc.)
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