Yupik Artifacts- Nunalleq, AK



Carved from a caribou antler, this barbed harpoon head (left) originally had a sharp tip, now broken. Its tapered bottom fit into a bone socket at the end of a long wooden shaft. The incised lines mark ownership. Hunters of sea mammals normally worked in a group, and the man whose harpoon struck the prey first was often entitled to a special portion of the meat. This piece of slate (right) was ground into its sharp, pointed shape and then slotted into the end of an arrow. Archaeologists found more than a thousand of these at the site of Nunalleq, mostly in association with the dwelling that was attacked. Some were even embedded in the building’s posts, probably the result of attackers shooting arrows down the hallways.

Read more about the recent excavation in Nat Geo

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