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Aleutian Archaeology

PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2007 10:09 am
by Mayonaze
This summer excavation continues in advance of the Amaknak Bridge Project at Unalaska, in the Aleutian Islands (SW Alaska). I've visited the site a couple of times and have seen a display of preliminary findings at the local museum. The site dates from between 3300 and 2700 radiocarbon years before present. Information about the data recovery effort is available here:
http://www.dnr.state.ak.us/parks/oha/un ... bridge.htm
See item #4 for an overview.

Information on a nearby contemporary site (Margaret Bay) is available here:
http://archaeology.about.com/gi/dynamic ... o/m%2Dbay/

One feature of the Amaknak dig that I found remarkable is that the residences had in-floor heating - channels built into the floor to conduct heat from the hearth to more distant parts of the room.

PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2007 10:32 am
by Minimalist
channels built into the floor to conduct heat from the hearth to more distant parts of the room.



Sounds like a Roman bath, Mayo.

PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2007 11:11 am
by Rokcet Scientist
Minimalist wrote:
channels built into the floor to conduct heat from the hearth to more distant parts of the room.


Sounds like a Roman bath, Mayo.



See! Those Romans were an enterprising bunch! They got around.

PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2007 11:21 am
by Mayonaze
I guess I (and others?) struggle against naive arrogance when considering our predecessors, constantly underestimating them. These people weren't stupid, they weren't unsophisticated. With their knowledge and resources, I probably would do no better and could very easily do worse.

PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2007 11:59 am
by Minimalist
Most of us would starve to death in the cold if put into those conditions.

PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2007 12:22 pm
by Rokcet Scientist
Minimalist wrote:
Most of us would starve to death in the cold if put into those conditions.



Most of them did too!
It wasn't a walk in the park.
Very few had the skills and were hardy enough to survive.
Survival of the fittest.
And those fittest are our ancestors.
Evolution.

PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2007 12:41 pm
by Minimalist
That's an issue that deserves its own thread, R/S.

PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2007 9:26 am
by kbs2244
Is this the infamous "Bridge to Nowhere?"
They cut the funding for the bridge, but the pre-building work goes on?

PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2007 2:38 pm
by Mayonaze
Nope. The Gravina Island Bridge (Ketchikan Alaska) is about 1,400 miles from Unalaska. I'm not going to comment on the politics! :roll:

PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2007 4:47 pm
by Digit
What's this bridge then?

PostPosted: Sun Jun 17, 2007 6:09 pm
by kbs2244
I just looked up both places on yahoo maps.
They are about as far apart as you can get and still be in Alaska. Which is saying quite a bit. Aleutian Islands to south of Juneau.
I have to say that I cannot see the need for a bridge at either location. You have an airport, some water, and a city. But neither airport would qualify as an O'hare or DFW.
But they are finding good stuff, and of all the states, Alaska can afford this kind of work the most.
Under the floor, radient heat, in the Aleutian Islands! How far did those Roman traders get?

PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2007 9:17 am
by Mayonaze
[quote="kbs2244"]
I have to say that I cannot see the need for a bridge at either location. You have an airport, some water, and a city. But neither airport would qualify as an O'hare or DFW.
quote]

KB: No offense intended but this is a curious comment from someone interested in archaeology.... maybe you are too rooted in your own environment to understand the needs of someone in another place, much less in another time? What do you know of Alaska? Should you be questioning your assumptions?

PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2007 9:28 am
by Minimalist
I recall reading where there is some archaeological evidence to suggest that underfloor heating originated in the Indus Valley in the 6th millenia, BC. It spread to Rome thus continuing the Roman's trend of adapting and perfecting technology discovered by others. The Romans were not great innovators but they were extraordinary engineers.

In any case....if an idea could spread westward it could also spread eastward.

PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2007 12:17 pm
by Mayonaze
Or it could arise independently. As I think Jared Diamond pointed out in Guns Germs and Steel, the domesticaltion of plants and animals occurred in different locations and different times without inter-cultural (?) contact in all cases.

PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2007 12:34 pm
by Digit
Same on this thread as on the wheel one, and I'm in my usual puzzled state.
On the one hand the club tells me that as we are big brained we are the most intelligent animal ever to have walked this planet, then they turn around and try to tell me Homo is bloody stupid!
If one group can solve a problem in a certain way, why not another group?
Like I said, I'm puzzled.