Great news from the dig site: They have found another fluted point base!
This is not the point the team recently found - it's a bifacial tool which was found at the site in previous years. I don't have photos of the tool they found so this is a stand in. But who knows, maybe the same person made both tools?
Bill called the bunkhouse in Kotzebue to give me the update from camp. His voice sounded different over the satellite phone but I could hear the excitement in his voice. Apparently Jess found it in the screen and it looks a lot like the one they found last year. It's made of gray chert.
Here is a fluted point found at the site last week while I was still at the dig. See the grooves coming up the face of the tool from the bottom? Those are the flutes.
Fluting, remember, is the long groove up the length of the point. It's really hard to do and is a skill or technique that can be traced throughout the Americas. The first fluted points - Clovis and Folsom - were found in the American southwest. Some were even found stuck in mammoth remains. The question now is, are these Alaskan fluted points younger or older than those from down south? If they are older, maybe they are the first ones which lead to the later Folsom and Clovis points. If they are newer, maybe the skill of fluting was passed northward from group to group.
"We're getting older and older with every trowel stroke," said Jeff Rasic from the site.
"We're methodically revealing the past."
They also had some musk ox walk by on the river bar right across from camp.
"We were able to get some great close-up shots," Bill said.
Here is a musk ox we saw at the large animal research facility at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks during our orientation. This is what was walking by camp recently. They went extinct in Alaska back in the 1800's but were re-introduced from herds in Greenland. John Erlich here in Kotzebue says hunting them is like sneaking up on a refrigerator. Maybe that helps explain why they went extinct!
I have been spending time in Kotzebue getting ready for the radio interview which will be live tomorrow (Monday) morning from 8:30 to 9 a.m. on KOTZ 720 a.m. so listen in if you are in radio range.