Fieldwork this year was focused on rock art recording on Rosemary and Enderby Islands, with further excavation at Watering Cove and Old Geo’s Valley. One historic site (the West Lewis Sheep Station) has been excavated and we have also targeted historic inscriptions across the archipelago. The recording work has documented > 280 new archaeological sites, with a total of 6,348 panels, 12,259 motifs; 761 grinding patches and 295 stone features.
The team of lab volunteers has been busy in 2017. The work has been done under Joe and Jo’s supervision by Phil Breig, Cynthia Harvey-Baker, Helen Runciman, Nick Suercke, Niamh Quinn, Jordanna Rebbeck, and Matt Walsh, who have collectively put in more than 200 hours in the lab this year.
We have now completed sorting the sieve residues from excavations on Enderby Island. Rosemary Island sorting is underway, and we still have Watering Cove and the Old Geos sites to go. We have found remarkable diversity in our samples: even in sites on the same island(s) and dated to similar ages. The sorting will allow more focused analyses to ask how did shellfish gathering and consumption change with rising sea levels?: and, how did island usage change? Georgie Buck completed an Honours thesis on the ideal conditions for yam growth within stone features (supervised by Pauline Grierson and Joe Dortch), and several Honours projects (on shell and lithics) are being discussed for 2018.