Monday, June 29, 2009

Rare Artifacts From the Pit House

As work continued last week on the excavation of the pit structure (Fea. 09-04), some very interesting artifacts turned up. Near the floor level an area of carbonized plant material resembling bark was exposed. We were even more surprised when some of the fragments were removed to reveal two interesting objects laying side by side. One artifact is a well-made awl or perforating tool made from the scapula (shoulder blade) of a deer. As the image below shows, this tool is drilled at one end, possibly for the attachment of a cord. The other specimen is a piece of shell that has been fashioned to look like a bear claw. This artifact was decorated with three tiny punctates on both sides and perforated, most likely for attachment to clothing or to be worn as a pendant.

The discovery of these objects on the floor of the pit structure may indicate that they were lost by the inhabitants; however this seems unlikely. Instead, I think that they may have been deliberately left behind when the house was abandoned, perhaps as a spirit offering. Whatever the explanation, it is very exciting to discover artifacts that may very well have belonged to the people who lived in this pit house at least 600 years ago.