Montana Creek Fishtrap being excavated, 1989. Source: Sealaska
In 1989 a nearly complete fish trap was found in Montana Creek, near Juneau Alaska in Aak’w Kwáan Tlingit territory. The cylindrical trap, measuring 3 metres long and 1 metre in diameter, was excavated and found to date to about 600 years ago. The trap was preliminarily reported in Kathryn Bernick’s 1998 book Hidden Dimensions (UBC Press). Fishtraps were supported by wood and/or stone weir structures which also act to direct fish into the trap. The trap would be removed at the end of each season and stored nearby or at camp. Of course, being wood, they intrinsically don’t preserve very well except in anaerobic and wet conditions. They are therefore rather rare since they would need to be left in the creek after use in order to preserve. So this one is very unusual, and especially so since it was essentially complete (other than being flattened). All credit to the finder, Paul Kissner, for being alert, recognizing the trap, and reporting it promptly.
But now, the fishtrap has become very much a living object.
Posted in alaska, anthropology, Archaeology, Cultural Resource Management, Northwest Coast, Technology, Uncategorized
Tagged alaska, conservation, fish traps, fish weirs, fishing, Juneau, reconstruction, southeast alaska, tlingit, wet sites
La Brea Woman forensic reconstruction.
I came across this interesting article chronicling an emerging controversy in Los Angeles. I never knew that human remains had been found in the La Brea tar pits, but a partial skeleton of a young female had been on display until recently in the George C. Page Museum there. At some point, a museum volunteer made forensic-style reconstructive drawings of this young woman. Now the museum is trying to prevent their publication, a move which some claim is designed to help prevent their repatriation.
Are illustrations of human remains tantamount to display of the human remains themselves? Is the display of a cast any different? The forensic reconstructionist apparently used the cast, not the actual skull. But consider the process of making a cast: is not that a greater insult to the dead than merely handling their bones would be? In any case, these forensic reconstructions contain a little too much interpretive latitude: consider the Kennewick man reconstruction whose resemblance to Patrick Stewart has done nothing to quell the notion Kennewick man was ‘Caucasian’. Further, the forensic reconstructions include disturbing “cutaways” revealing the reconstructive process and producing an otherworldly, inhuman appearance (see below).
Posted in anthropology, Archaeology, California, Miscellaneous
Tagged Archaeology, California, Chumash, forensics, La Brea, museums, reconstruction, visual archaeology