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Spirit Worlds at Nunalleq

Excavations at Nunalleq have also found a number of different masks, some complete like this example, and others fragmented. This mask, found in the summer of 2015, is particularly striking. With ivory insets, a beard and whiskers, it is a transformation piece, transcending animal and human worlds.

© This image is credited to Sven Haakanson, and is made available under Creative Commons BY

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Amazing organics!

Permafrost and waterlogged soils at the site have preserved an extensive assemblage of organic remains, like the basketry shown in this picture. These kinds of materials are rarely found at archaeological sites, as they would normally decay, but Nunalleq has yielded many preserved wooden artefacts, seeds, plants, animal fur, and even cut strands of human hair (the waste from prehistoric haircuts). Laid on the woven grass are a pair of carved ivory earrings found at the site.

© This image is credited to Sven Haakanson, and is made available under Creative Commons BY

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Archaeological Survey

An important part of the Nunalleq project is identifying new sites that could be under threat. This involves co-learning and knowledge exchange with community partners. Archaeologists are advising local people on how to recognise and record new sites when they are encountered, and local volunteers bring valuable knowledge of the region and the Alaskan wilderness to the research team.

© This image is credited to Rick Knecht, and is made available under Creative Commons BY

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Community Workshops

Community workshops are an important part of the field season in Quinhagak. This gives local residents an opportunity to see and experience archaeological finds close-up, and also to discuss them, with archaeologists, and one another. At community workshops, the material culture of Nunalleq is truly integrated into the present. For researchers, community memories of object types and the traditional skill bases of local craftspeople provide valuable new perspectives on the interpretation of the archaeological record at Nunalleq.

© This image is credited to Rick Knecht, and is made available under Creative Commons BY

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