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Movement of a pre historic culture The Nebulosa Chain

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The Nebulosa Chain is a chain of Islands that stretch from the Digitus Peninsula of Illysium to Obscurata at the East. The Islands were formed by volcanoes and are named after the thick fogs that surround the area caused by warm and cold currents running through the area. These two nations have been in a constant feud and frontier dispute because of this and the fact that the two nations speak different languages there is not a lot exchange in information between them. The people that once inhabited these islands were known as the Lert population. When European sailors came over in the late seventeenth century they brought diseases with them and the Lert were almost killed off. One of the sailors described this culture as amazing seamen with sturdy and fast skin-covered boats. They had semi-subterranean homes next to the seashore and had bone harpoons with stone as the tips for hunting sea animals.

Recently archeological research here has been supported by the Illysium government in hopes to declare that the Lerts originated from there mainland opposed to from the eastern nation of Obscurata. There are approximately 10 islands in between the peninsula on the west and Obscurata to the east. There have been16 sites, from both nations and the islands that have been found, with four of them having undergone excavations. The four excavated sites are Foggy Bottom on Drygalski Island, Echinus Bay on Helios Island, Hecate beach on Erebus, and Lingula Inlet on the mainland of Illysium. (Fig.1) Some of the typical artifacts found from the Nebulosa Islands include; Bone and Ivory tools such as toggling harpoon heads, barbed harpoon heads, hooks and labrets; Obsidian and Chert tools like prismatic cores, both large and micro blades, bifacial discoid scrapers, bifacial burins, bifacial send set points, bifacial points, and bifacial knives. A few ground slate tools were found such as knives and end-set harpoon heads. One site even had igneous rock worked in to pecked lamps.

Excavation findings

Three Island sites and one mainland site have been excavated. The findings from each site vary, no two being the same. (Fig.2) The strata levels show that the sites differ from single to multi levels of occupation. One of the main common facts between the islands is that there is very little terrestrial fauna amongst them, however because of the intermixing currents there is an extremely diverse and highly populated marine life.

Foggy Bottom

Foggy Bottom is a single occupational site located a little inland on the eastern shore of Drygalski Island. The island is approximately 30 km long and 100 km wide. The C14 findings have dated this site to be approximately 9500 350B.P. The material remains of this site mainly contain artifacts made of obsidian, chert and the occasional greenstone tools. There were numerous flakes found at this site – twenty blades and sixty bifacial artifacts such as points, scrapers, and end-set points. As well, ten artifacts of bone and ivory were found. There were minimal faunal remains, but the findings show that the inhabitants of this site had a diet that included clams, periwinkle the occasional seal bone was found along with sea unchain shells.

Echinus Bay

Echinus Bay is located on Helios Island, which is aproimatly. 80km long and 50 km wide. The Island has a little lake in the middle. Echinus Bay is located next to a stream that flows in to the island. It is a multi occupational site with three different levels having been found and the oldest C14 date going all the way back to 8000 300 B.P. Levels I and II are separated by a layer of volcanic ash from an eruption that was dated back to around 3870 40 B.P.

Level III

This is the oldest excavated level at this site. This level has a smaller settlement in comparison to level I, an II. Flaked obsidian tools are most common here; there were twenty blades found and thirty bifacials such as worked points, scrapers, and knives. Occasionally the above were found with shell pendants, and bone and ivory hooks. Forty bone and ivory artifacts were excavated. Once again, the faunal remains consist mostly of sea urchins, clams, fish, and shellfish. In the upper portion of this level, there are the occasional and rare sea lion bones.

Level II

Once again, this site contains 40 obsidian, bifacially worked tools. On this level we see the introduction of burins, and non-toggling barbed harpoons made of bone and ivory. Along with these tools there were 55 bone and ivory artifacts found. The faunal remains are mainly of clamshells, sea lions and otter and we see the occasional whalebone. This level, however more common in level one, there were pit house style dwellings excavated.

Level I

This level we no longer see flaked tools but instead fifty ground slate tools were found consisting of knives and harpoon blades with endpoints. There were also forty bone and ivory artifacts found such as toggling style harpoon heads with slotted ends as well as bone and ivory labrets. Here we also see the introduction of pecked stone lamps. The faunal remains once again consist of clam and sea urchin shells, salmon and other fish species. Larger faunal remains such as seal, otter and some whale were found.

Lingula Inlet on Illysium

Lingula inlet can be found on the eastern shore of the Digitus Peninsula in Illysium. This site consists of two different occupational levels with the oldest C14 date going back to 1500 100 B.P. Both levels one and two contain overlapping Pit house dwellings.

Level II

This level consists of twenty-five bifacial flakes and 50 ground stone artifacts. Twenty-five bifacial tools. Harpoon head styles are of a non-toggling style with basic and simple barbs. There were about twenty bone and ivory artifacts excavated. The Faunal remains are mostly of fish remains, mainly salmon, and the occasional caribou bone.

Level I

This level is closest to present. In this level there is a decrease in bifacially worked artifacts as only five were excavated. Harpoon heads are of toggling style. Once again, there were many ground slate artifacts found (sixty-five). Faunal remains are the same as in level two along with the remains of whalebone and other deep-sea species. As well, caribou was also sparingly present.

Hecate Beach

This site is located on Erebus Island just east of Echinus Bay on Helios Island. It is a small island of approximately twenty km. across and thirty long. The artifacts from this site have a wide range of approximate dates. This site was found on the beach next to a cliff where the waves have been eroding away the land. There have been eighty five long fine obsidian flaked blades found, and prismatic cores, two ground slate and eight bone and ivory artifacts found. Here there were no faunal remains except a few Reindeer and Caribou bones. There was no architecture found.

Conclusions and Discussion

The excavations that have undergone at the Nebulosa island chain can help support the Illysium case for a Lert penetration of the island chain from the west. However, in order to fully support this claim I think that a few more excavations should be completed. One of the main reasons I have come to this conclusion is because out of the four excavations three are all concentrated precisely in the middle of the island chain. One of the excavations seems to be a little difficult to place in a specific period. This is the site of Hecate Beach on Erebus Island. This one leveled site has minimal findings of artifacts with a large range of possible dates, as there was obsidian found associated with the time frame of Foggy bottom around 9500 350 B.P. Along side the obsidian the artifacts such as ground slate, and Reindeer/Caribou remains seem to be most common with the Lingula site around 1500 100. The reasoning for this could be that Hecate is a site that is on the storm beach of a cliff that is slowly eroding away due to the water. These artifacts could be some remnants of a site further up the cliff that may have multiple stratigraphic levels. Hecate is a site that we can no make any definite conclusions from. However, it looks like it could have possibly had a long range of inhabitation.

Of the remaining three excavations, only two of them are on the islands and fairly close to one another as the two islands are maybe only forty km apart from one another. These are Foggy Bottom and Echinus Bay. Foggy Bottom is a single occupational site where as Echinus Bay seems to be a continues site with three stratographic layers of material remains. Level three of Echinus Bay seems to be closely related to the same time frame as Foggy Bottom. They both have similar faunal remains and comprise of bifacially flaked obsidian tools. Level two of Echinus Bay seems to have had a slight improvement in their tool technology, their tools not have burins and harpoon heads that would have been used to catch, large game, sea mammalians. At 3370 40 we know that this area was covered by a later of ash from a volcano eruption, however, what we don’t know is whether or not the habitants of this site remained there or if not we do not know precisely when it was that they returned. However, level one closely resembles that of level one of the Lingula site. In this phase, we see occupational dwellings such as Pit houses, but most distinctively there is the use of toggling harpoon heads, and ground slate. This shows a large development in the tool kits.

At this point in time, I am unsure of where they would have obtained their ivory, as there was an absence of terrestrial mammalian macro fauna. This also goes for the Reindeer/Caribou bones as they are on both Hecate and Lingula. There could have possibly been trade from the people on the main lands, but for some reason I doubt this.

With Foggy Bottom having the oldest C14 dates and Echinus Bay having a much later time frame, this could possibly be evidence that the Lert people originated from Illysium. Lingula seem to have to closest to present date however this could simply be some of the population that decided against migrational movements eastward. As I mentioned earlier I strongly hold to the face that more excavations need to be done in order to fully prove this fact. We do not know anything about the sites that have been found closer to the east and any of the other sites at Illysium. In order for their claim to be true, there would be older sites on the mainland. It could be possible though that the one the excavated just happened to be a closer to date site.

My suggestion would be to attempt excavating one of the Western coast sites on the Peninsula, as I would assume that those would have been inhabited by the people that migrated to the islands. As well, there is nothing to say that the Lert population did not migrate from the East, as we do not know anything about those islands. Another conclusion that needs to be looked at and considered is the fact that maybe the Lert population of the Nebulosa Islands migrated there from both the east and the west. Perhaps and excavation on Ignota Island could further our understandings. As for now I see nothing that makes a strong claim that the Lert culture originated from Illysium.

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