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Artefact of the day 6/8

August 7, 2012

The artefact of the day was found by Tiia-Maria c. 20 cm down in the burnt feature. It is a broken stone labret. It was broken already when it was in use, because someone drilled a hole in it so it could me mended by tying the both pieces together. We only found the one piece, but Tiia will keep looking. Labrets is a form of prehistoric lip piercing. They were worn in pairs on each side of the chin. Labrets were probably a sign of status worn by elders and other important persons in the community. They are one of the few artefacts that tell us something about individual status and social organisation – a rather unknown part of Yup’ik prehistory, as deceases had disrupted social organisation in the native communities already before the Russians (and with them the first written accounts) encountered the native Alaskans.

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