Knife discovered at Kodiak Community Archaeology site

The Alutiiq Museum’s Community Archeology program led to the discovery of a knife this week.

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Patrick Saltonstall holds Alutiiq knife. (Photo courtesy of Alutiiq Museum & Archeological Repository)
Patrick Saltonstall holds Alutiiq knife. (Photo courtesy of Alutiiq Museum & Archeological Repository)

Alutiiq Museum Curator of Archaeology, Patrick Saltonstall, says they’re in the fourth year of digging the Kashevaroff site at Salonie Creek, and focus on a different spot each time. He says they’re about to finish up on the current section and they’ve been uncovering many objects.

“We’re down in the very bottom levels of the site, and all the artifacts we’re finding now are like 6 to 7,000 years old. And it’s been fun, we’ve been finding really complete tools, and what’s neat is we haven’t been finding a lot of the debris that, when you make a tool, you have a lot of flakes and bits of slate and stuff, and we haven’t been finding any of that. We’re just finding tools or the broken tools, ‘cause they’ve been bringing them to the site.”

He says they discovered a knife at the location, one of the many pieces of evidence that point to the site having been a hunting camp.

“It’s kind of unique ‘cause it’s so big. We find a lot of hunting lances that are shaped the same way from the same time period, but they’re about half that size. We’ve never found anything quite that big. And also, it’s made out of basalt. It’s made out of a rock that’s not from Kodiak. Basalt’s a volcanic rock, so you find it only on the Alaska Peninsula – so, the closest place.”

And they’ve also found the remnants of what may have been a structure.

“We can see the post holes and we can see a lot of gravel and some charcoal. We’re sitting around on that surface there. And we actually found that big knife sort of nearby that. It might’ve been associated with that little, sort of structure.”

According to the museum website, field and lab work will continue until August 12.

Kayla Deroches is a reporter at KMXT in Kodiak.

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