The Tribes of Tent City

We are situated on a bend of the Tanana River that still sports a little shelf of ice near the highway underpass, and the first thing a visitor would think upon discovering our field camp is, how did a bunch of hobos manage to squat in such an exposed front yard?  Technically, we are camping.  However, after the first lithics and faunal remains were discovered at the Mead Site a few years ago, a University of Wisconsin researcher bought the property and built a log cabin on it, which now provides the space for our lab and movie nights.  So now there are more than a dozen multicolored tents interspersed with mounds of moose poop by Dr. Barbara Krass’s spruce forest.

Our peeps are divided into groups A, B, and C, each being assigned to a particular area by the bluff edge and led by graduate students from the University of Alaska-Fairbanks.  They have diverse interests–Phoebe’s into geoarchaeology, Gilbert’s studying ancient shamanism, and Randy does survey work with flint knapping on the side.  Mead is a multicomponent site that might date back to the fourth cultural zone of Beringia, around 14,000 BP, so faunal and lithics are the mainstay of the researchers, and people identify as stoners or boners.  We have to go now…look forward to getting down to 55 cm BS tomorrow, hopefully some nice jasper flakes!

–Tiffany Tsai


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