The last two days have been beautiful in Port Joli. Our time at the site has been extremely pleasant; the trees surrounding the midden provide great shade from the sun and a cooling breeze has kept the mosquitoes away. Progress has been slow, but we believe we have reached the first intact cultural layer of the deposit, which may be a dwelling floor (hopefully I’ll post more on that tomorrow). Meanwhile, Dr. Konrad Gajewski and his graduate student, Karen Neil, from the University of Ottawa, have been very busy. They have been sampling a bog/fen that surrounds the archaeological site to assess climate change over the period that it was occupied.
Today they used a “Livingstone Corer”, a hand-operated device that is pressed into the bog/fen to remove a core, or cylinder, of sediment from its bottom. Over time, organic remains, pollen, and other debris accumulate at the base of the bog/fen; by meticulously analyzing this record of sediment they can reconstruct the vegetative history of the area and, by proxy, changes in climate. They removed a core over 80 cm long from the bottom of the bog.
We are extremely honoured to have Konrad and Karen join the project; their palaeoclimate lab is world-class and their work will play a crucial role. Reconstructing the local environment when the sites were occupied is critical to understanding the development of human adaptations in the area. We will be collaborating closely with them to compare the record of climate change to the archaeological sequence from Port Joli.