Excavation continues in Port Joli, and we are making slow but steady gains. Most units in Area A have reached a depth of 75 centimeters and we are getting fantastic data from the midden.
Animal bones are very well preserved and the diversity of shellfish is much higher than we had expected from previous excavation in 2008 and 2009. Throughout Area A, we have been finding abundant amounts of caribou, geese, and cod, as well as occasional snowshoe hare and immature seal bones.
The frequency of stone tools and flakes has fallen drastically as we dig deeper, a phenomenon that seems common in many shell middens. However, pottery has been very abundant, and in fact we are finding large beautifully decorated pieces throughout.
In Area C, we have fully revealed the surface of Feature 4, a house floor (probably an ancient wigwam floor) we have been carefully exposing for the last two weeks. We have recovered a tremendous assemblage of material from the house, including stone points (arrowheads) and scrapers (an implement for shaving wood, bone, or skins), as well abundant charcoal from cooking fires and the occasional pottery fragment. We hope to find more of these tent floors as we excavate deeper, but for the time being we will be moving to the east of the structure to get a sample of the small “kitchen” midden associated with it.
This week seven Mi’kmaw high school students from Acadia First Nation will join us in the excavations. It should be a busy and exciting time for all.