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Hunting at Nunalleq

April 13, 2019

These are complete wooden arrow shafts. Nock ends on precontact Yup’ik arrows are oval in cross-section for a better grip between the fingers. Most arrow shafts show signs of being painted in red, black or a combination of those colors. The arrow points have a conical pointed base that plugs into a hole on the business end of the arrow shaft. That way different point types can be plugged in depending what type of game animal presents itself. The broken ends of arrow points are still embedded in several of these shafts. We find arrows in many sizes including small ones for children.


Below are toggling harpoon heads. Finely made from caribou antler, these were designed to toggle, or turn sideways inside the seal after it was hit. The slots at the end held a sharp triangular slate endblade. If you look closely, you’ll see a broken endblade still remaining in one of them. The harpoon head on the far right is a preform, lost or discarded before the final touches could be added. Very similar harpoons are still used by seal hunters in Quinhagak today, although modern versions are made from metal.


Ivory and bone fish lures were used as jigs to lure fish to the surface where they could be speared or dip netted. This one is made from walrus ivory and elders say that it probably represents a young northern pike.


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