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Artefact of the day 9/8

July 10, 2015

Carefully excavating the partial belt

Today’s artefact of the day was found by Carly in the charred burnt layers of the new eastern units. It is a portion of a women’s cairbou-teeth belt, and only the second archaeological example Rick has ever seen, with the other coming from Kodiak. The belt was found near a variety of other objects often associated with women’s work, including large fragments of pottery, a ulu blade and a needle sharpener, which is exciting for Ana and her work on engendered spaces at the site!

Nunalleq’s womens belt

Caribou-teeth belts were highly personal items in Arctic cultures. Every women would have had one made for them by a man, and it represented the products of a accomplished hunter. The belts were also thought to have healing powers, especially when they were passed down through generations. It was believed that the caribou-teeth would cut a path through the illness of the ailing body and free it from any aches and pains. Since a women would never go anywhere without her belt, least diseases enter her body, it is particularly significant that a belt was found in our burnt layer, as this represents the attack-event, and reinforces the traumatic nature of Nunalleq’s abandonment.

Ethnographic example of a completed belt from the 19th century

Ethnographic example of a completed belt from the 19th century


2 Comments leave one →
  1. Kate permalink
    July 10, 2015 08:19

    Wow! That is lovely – so intricate. Well done Carly!

  2. Marilyn permalink
    July 10, 2015 12:54

    What a great find and addition to information on the site. I enjoy hearing about your daily progress. Thank you.

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