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Nunalleq kayaks

April 6, 2019

Having a large sample of artifacts means that we recover objects in various stages of manufacture, from preform to finished product. Kayak makers were careful to use driftwood with grain running in just the right direction; you can see this in both the preform (bottom) and finished (though fragmentary) kayak bow piece on the top


Finished kayak bow piece


Preform for kayak bow piece


A full-sized kayak prow. Kayak prows as well as model kayaks from the site show no sign of the oval hole seen in the bow of historic Yup’ik kayaks. Instead bow forms range from pointed to steeply peaked as in this example. A split in the wood was mended with baleen cordage before finally being discarded. It was later used as a dart target which left some small holes in the side. The darts themselves were found right next to it.


Full size kayak prow

A complete kayak prow from a model kayak. Most kayak models found at Nunalleq were pieces of wood carved into the shape of a kayak but some models were made complete with realistic miniature frame parts in a similar scale used by historic and modern kayak model makers. We’ve also found miniature deck beams and accessories like tiny paddles.


Kayak prow from model kayak

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