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> Pre-Historical Human-Environment Interactions: Russia



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Description: Some of the more dramatic volcanoes of the Kuril Islands rising above the water. Clockwise from upper left - Atsonupuri on Itrurup Island, L'Vinaya Past Caldera on Iturup Island, Chirip on Iturup, and Nemo on Onekotan.

Cruise Track of Gipanis


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Description: Map of Kuril Islands with the cruise track of the Gipanis. Red stars and dates correspond to Misty's journal entries and her approximate location. Original map created by the University of Washington for the Kuril Biocomplexity Project.

Map of Kuril Islands


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Description: Location map of Kuril Islands. Map created by the University of Washington, for the Kuril Biocomplexity Project.

August 12-15


Uploaded by: Misty_Nikula_Ohlsen

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Description: On the left: Jesse Einhorn (standing in black), Jody Bourgeois (kneeling in yellow) and Colby Phillips (kneeling with blue coat and red hat), along with Malish (orange coat, back to camera), work on exposing the tephra sequence high above a wave-cut platform beach. Behind and far below them (about 90 meters) you can see the black, rocks that have been eroded into a flat platform surface by the wave action.

In the center: Me holding the white biface projectile point that was found in the test pit that Mike Etnier, Bre MacInnes and I dug at Drobnyye Beach on Shiashkotan Island. Biface points are made by taking the large initial flakes from knapping and then chipping off smaller bits along the edges to refine the shape and sharpness. A biface point has been retouched from both sides and looks like what most people would generally think of as an “arrowhead.” (Image courtesy Mike Etnier)

On the right: A close up photo of the two biface points that were found at Drobnyye Beach after they were cleaned. They are sitting on the screen with a pencil for scale.

Boat and Malish


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Description: On the left: The boat loaded with palynology gear and people heads for shore at Kharimkotan. Dr. Valery Shubin is operating the engine, Dr. Pat Anderson, from the University of Washington (and my roommate) is to the right of him and Dr. Anatoly Lozhkin, from the Magadan Institute, is in the front of the boat, facing forward. Also in the boat is Valery Golobtsov, an archaeologist, who is going along to assist with unloading the boat.

On the right: Malish, the volcanology dog, relaxes in the warm grasses after following us across the top of Shiashkotan for the day.



Uploaded by: Misty_Nikula_Ohlsen

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Description: On the left: I am laying down into the test pit that we dug on top of the terrace at the northern end of Ryponkicha. We dug about 45 cm into the NE quadrant of the pit and found a midden at the base. This picture was taken as I was trying to do a hurried geological description of the stratigraphy. (Image courtesy of Ben Fitzhugh)

In the center: Ben, Tezuka and I get ready to descend the cliff through this wash out. Ben had just finished taking pictures of an Arctic fox that had a den about 1/3 of the way down. The terrace that we were on was about 80 meters high.

On the right: An immature, male fur seal that we woke up and is telling us in no uncertain terms not to come any closer (we didn’t). There were at least 100 fur seals – most likely all immature males, according to Mike Etnier (our resident zooarchaeologist and fur seal expert) – taking naps all along the beach at Ryponkicha while we were doing archaeology above their heads. (Image courtesy of Ben Fitzhugh)

Screening Deck


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Description: On the left: Matt Walsh works on spraying salt water on the midden sample from the Vodopadnaya midden test pit. The small mud balls that were left from the initial screening are being broken up and rinsed so that we can collect all of the smallest bone pieces.

On the right: A close up of the wet screening. Matt Walsh and Mike Etnier are working to break up the mud balls so that the dirt can be washed off of the small bones.

Snail Midden


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Description: Caption – On the left: Dr. Mike Etnier identifies a large bone found in the midden at Ainu Bay as from an extinct sea lion species.

Center: A close up of the bone, showing the distinctive “hook” that helps with its identification.

On the right: A photo taken of our excavated snail midden at Ainu Bay on Matua. Through the center of the photo runs the snail midden layer. Above the snail shells is the sandy soil and turf. Below the snail shells layer are two large layers that contain volcanic cinders. Some of the cinders were quite large – 5-7 cm in diameter.

Misty Working


Uploaded by: Misty_Nikula_Ohlsen

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Description: I am working in the room where all of the archaeological artifacts are being stored. Each item’s complete provenance has to be recorded on the sample bag, in the artifact book and on an aluminum tag or piece of orange tape that goes into the bag with the item. I never saw Indiana Jones doing this sort of thing!



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Description: On the left:  Colby and Beth work to fill in the test pit that we dug at Okhotsknichi Creek.  We dug two pits nearly a meter wide by a nearly a meter deep and didn’t find anything but sand and two possible tephra layers.
On the right:  Okhotsknichi Beach where the Creek flows into the Sea of Okhotsk.  Just to the left of the picture and a little bit up the creek is where I found my prized glass float.



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Description: On the left:  Natalia Toropova, Jesse Einhorn, James Taylor and Tetsuya Amano brave the cold and wet as they help to secure the zodiac along the side of the ship and wait to see if they will be going ashore today.
On the right:  Dr. Ben Fitzhugh working at the Novokuril’skaya site.  On the eroded outcrop to the left of him you can see two of the three lighter-colored volcanic tephra layers that were found.  One runs near the top of the picture above his head and the other larger layer is just below his right arm.  Nearly all of the pre-historic cultural material that was found at this site was found between the two tephra layers.  (Image courtesy of Mike Etnier)

Urup Os'ma


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Description: On the left:  The beach terraces that Jody, Beth, Bre and Jesse worked on profiling and excavating at Os’ma Bay.  In this image from the beach you can see three of the four terraces that we measured.  Marine terraces are tectonically uplifted beaches, as opposed to beach ridges, which form when the water level moves lower.  One of the clues to this is that from the top of each step you could see that the area behind it was flat rather than a trough, like with the beach ridges.
On the right:  A picture from the top of southern Urup looking north toward the volcanoes that lie between us and the palynologists at Tokotan.  If you look closely you can see the Gipanis in the middle lower left of the image, anchored off the coast.    



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Description: On the left:  Matt Walsh and I work to wash the soil and sand away from a few shovelfuls of dirt from the midden excavation so that we can recover any small bones or artifacts that may be present. 
(Image courtesy of Mike Etnier)
On the right:  Mike Etnier holds out a sea otter tooth that was found in the screen.  Below his hand, you can see the screen and its contents after the washing was done. 

Hot Springs


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Description: On the left: The hot spring above Kuril'sk on Iturup Island. You can see the water coming down the hillside -- it spring right out of the rocks further up. You can also see some of the white, red and yellow mineral deposits along the banks. The water is heated underground by volcanic hotspots and then the minerals from the rocks are dissolved into it. As the water begins to cool above ground, the minerals solidify and precipitate out onto the surrounding rocks on the stream banks. (Image courtesy of Mike Etnier)

On the right: A view of Chirip, the 1580 m volcano that lies between Reydovo and Kuril'sk, at sunset.



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Description: On the left: A Japanese glass float lying on the beach. Japanese fishermen used these floats for their nets from the early 1900s. Only a few traditional fishermen use these floats now, but hundreds of thousands can be found in large piles on Hokkaido and other islands in Japan as well as washed up on beaches all around the Pacific Ocean. (Image courtesy of Mike Etnier.)

On the right: Jesse, Beth and Bre prepare to begin describing the series of excavations that we dug along the side of a steep hillside about 45 meters above the shore line. The series of excavations covered about 3-4 meters and was mostly sand. sad.gif

Gun Turret


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Description: Jesse Einhorn investigates the WWII gun turret that now is rusting away on the spit that juts out from the south end of Kunashir Island.



Uploaded by: Misty_Nikula_Ohlsen

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Description: Image on top: The view from a high spot looking across the low-lying areas toward the lake at Sernovodsk. The mountains rising in the background are on Hokkaido Island, which is the northernmost island of Japan.
Image on the bottom: The beach ridges at Sernovodsk. In this picture you can see the active beach ridge to the far left, nearest to the shore. Then moving toward the right there are two more ridges visible, one that runs nearly through the center of the picture, starting just above the bush in the middle, and one that is just along the right edge. The areas in between are the troughs or former beach shores. Now they are marshy and a lot of peat is forming there.

Day 2 Work


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Description: On the left:  Bre MacInnis is working to set up the survey instrument – it is on top of the tripod.  She will need to level the instrument with the tripod before we can take a measurement.  She is taking the scaled rod out of its storage bag.
On the right: Jody Bourgeois down in the hole that Jesse Einhorn dug, describing the cross-section of deposits.  There were several tephra layers, some volcanic cinder layers and at least 2-3 tsunami deposits (beach sand).  This excavation was nearly 500 meters from the current beach front.

Work Site


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Description: On the left:  Beth is in front of the huge mudflow deposit.  The deposit extends from the river bed up to nearly the top of the hillside – a height of 20 meters.  The darker, reddish brown strip at the top is the 4 m debris flow that we saw in our first excavation.
On the right:  Jesse, Bre and I as we work on the top of the escarpment.  Believe me; it is steeper than it looks from this picture!  We had to dig in little foot holds to keep from sliding down into the vegetation below. 



Uploaded by: Misty_Nikula_Ohlsen

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Description: On the left: The Deflation Lag Deposit site that we first found. All of the rounded rocks are surrounded by bits of stone tools and flakes, broken pieces of pottery and charcoal -- all removed from their original "context" by the removal of the sand and dirt by wind erosion.
On the right: Jody Bourgeois is marking the layers of sand, soil and volcanic eruptions (tephra). She then describes the location (depth), color, grain texture and composition of each. This is recorded in a notebook and later transcribed onto the computer.

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