Kayaks and boats have naturally been an integral part of life at Nunalleq – the sea-close, sea-mammal-hunting and fishing community. We have not (yet ;)) found a kayak, but many kayak ribs, and other small kayak pieces, many of which have been reused for something else. It’s hard to remember when one sees the abundance of wooden artefacts from the site, but wood was a rare and valuable commodity at nunalleq, and thus many wooden pieces had several ‘lives’. Many of the ‘stick-dolls’ we find have been kayaks in their previous life. We have also found fragments of kayak paddles.
In addition to the full-size kayaks, we also have recovered kayak models, that can give you an idea of what the full scale kayak could have looked like.
Pictures taken by Rick Knecht
KTVA Alaska is reporting on Nunalleq and the new Cultural Centre and museum that is being set up http://www.ktva.com/alaska-village-see-return-centuries-old-artifacts-306/
For years Rick has been working like a madman in the lab to, with the aid of conservator Julie Masson-MacLean and a dedicated group of students and volunteers, curate and catalogue all the artefacts from the six excavation seasons at Nunalleq. Here are pictures of some of the fully treated artefacts that will soon go back to the new cultural center in Quinhagak.
All pictures are taken by Rick Knecht
The last workshop, that started after the village 4th of July parade, was well attended by young carvers, and some very nice pieces were made – those inspired by the old artefacts from the collection as well as artworks sprung from imagination. Instead of writing about it, we will just show you a photo gallery from the event 🙂
Another incredibly beautiful day in Quinhagak, which of course means the workshop was competing with more appealing outdoor activities – but Bryan was back eager to continue his boat-building projects. Claire continued – and finished her antler harpoon – with some final advice from John on how to make the holes (‘you need to find a nail’), and Anna started working on a toggling harpoon – replica from one in the collection.We chose to move the workshop outside so we could enjoy the sun while carving. Carl and Brayden also joined the carving crew on this fabulous afternoon.
They also put their effort into carving kayaks. The boys put their boats to the test in a pan of water, and they sailed very well.
However, when the antler dries out it becomes hard again very fast. These trials made us think that carvers probably had several projects going in the same time, so they can rotate between carving and soaking – working on one prong while the others rest.
After carving for hours, our hands were hurting and our concentration waned – so we put our tools down and went for a swim. Yet another beautiful day in Alaska!