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The ATIAHARA Trench
*****As it sometimes happens, our destiny and fate are largely altered by events directed by forces beyond our control. Such was the case, mid July, at ATIAHARA #3, where,I was shocked to discover a recently excavated trench of enormous proportions. Last year at this same site a number of holes, dug in preparation for house construction, revealed the presence of deep deposits. At that time I urged the owner to try to protect the site, now however the damage was done and there remained only the possibility of recovering stratigraphic information from the trench walls and the salvage of exposed cultural material.
*****The trench had been excavated by a large mechanized shoveller (pelleteuse) and was uniformly wide and deep. It measured approximately 33 meters long, 3 meters wide by 1.3 meters deep and appears to be located very close to if not on the limit between ATIAHARA #3 and ATIAHARA #4. It is placed about 20 meters from the road pavement longitudinally (oriented at about 129 degrees from magnetic North as is also the boundary see map 25.1)
*****I immediately sought permission from the owner to recover whatever could be salvaged and proceeded to photograph the trench. In all the test pits excavated with Marimari Kellem we never encountered anything of the likes of the deposits at ATIAHARA. Here there is evidence of a distinct deep layer a full 70 cm below the surface. In fact this was exactly what we had been looking for but never found and it was very exciting to see such a large deposit so fully exposed (see photo). Within a very short time I had found in the lowest layer some large pieces of charcoal. I photographed the intact charcoal then extracted and bagged the sample. Along with the charcoal I recovered numerous small bones and stone from the same general area of the layer. A number of adze fragments were recovered after a brief search of the excavated material as well as an unusual 2C butt fragment recovered from the floor of the trench.
*****This accomplished I was quick to telephone Dr. Shutler who advised drying and separating the charcoal samples. The samples would then be sent for a radio carbon analysis. I spent the next few days trying to dry the material recovered and finally sent the charcoal off to Dr. Shutler who forwarded it to Beta Analytic. I made a few more inspections of the trench and discovered some large bone fragments emerging from the bottom of the lowest layer at the far south end of the west wall. These were bagged and the location photographed, the bones were later dried and appear to be the top half of a pig skull, a further search of the location where these bones were recovered was not very productive, no other large bones could be located although a quantity of charcoal was discovered nearby. The charcoal was recovered from the bottom of the lowest layer and photographs again taken (see photos numbered 13,14, 19/9/94).
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