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Artefact of the day 18/8

August 19, 2012

Even though our day was cut short by fierce weather, we did have a few artefacts fine enough to be nominated artefact of the day. The artefact of the day was found by Ellen underneath the board walk closest to the sea. It is a duck effigy. Animal effigies like these were mounted on poles and carried around during ceremonies and festivals, such as the bladder festival. The bladder festival was one of the most important events of the year. It was celebrated in winter. The Yup’ik believed that no one every truly dies, every soul, also animal’s souls, was part of a cycle where it would be reborn again in another generation. When a seal allowed a hunter to kill it, its soul resided in its bladder where it will stay alive until returned to the sea. The bladder was kept by the hunters, and was after a five day celebration taken to the sea and pushed through a hole in the ice – the seal souls were returned to the sea.

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