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Artefact of the Day 4/8

August 6, 2015

IMG_5775IMG_5776The artefact of the day was found by PT in the area outside the house. It may be more of an eco-fact than an artefact – a mammoth, or mastodon as they are called here, tusk. It’s a small, hollow tusk, so it came from a baby mammoth. Mammoth tusks were ancient already when Nunalleq were inhabited, so this is someones rare find. Fossil ivory – from mammoth – are sometimes used for jewelry found at site – this tusk might have been meant for raw material. Mastodons are sometimes found in Alaska – we have even found teeth in the mudflats near the site. The Yup’ik story was that the mastodons were animals that lived under ground, and borrowed through the earth. If they accidentally came out to the fresh air they died, and that’s why they were sometimes found – dead – in the earth.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Richard Wisecarver permalink
    March 25, 2017 02:12

    Oops! it is more likely from a mammoth. The last mammoth died out in Alaska 9 to 10,000 years B.P. and the bones and tusks are commonly found from Bristol Bay to Norton Sound. My sister-in- law found six pair of tusks one fall. Another relative found a red stone point mixed with bones of extinct mammals during the same year. Mastodons lived much longer ago in the Americas. New and ancient artifacts were and are carved by AK Natives using Mammoth ivory today. The story you recited is from Nelson’s research and likely refers to the Yupik dragon or palyrurik.(sp.) Thank you for reading.

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