3,000-year-old mask found in Aleutians

Jul 29, 2007

A whalebone mask discovered at an Alaskan archaeological site was probably broken during an Aleut funeral 3,000 years ago, scientists said.

Mike Yarborough, who heads the dig on Unalaska Island in the Aleutian chain, told The Anchorage Daily News the mask is about 2,000 years older than any other to have been found. Only the upper half of the mask was found and it had old cracks in it.

Archaeologists began working on the hillside because a new bridge is to be built there, replacing an old wooden-decked one. The dig, originally scheduled to last only a month, has been extended because the site has proved to be much richer than anyone expected.

The village was inhabited at a time when the climate in the Aleutians was much colder and the islands were surrounded by ice year-round. The inhabitants lived in stone houses with under-floor air spaces for heating.

The mask resembles a 1,000-year-old one found on the Alaskan peninsula. Denise Rankin, vice president of the tribal corporation on Unalaska, said the eyes and other features are also familiar to her.

"They look just like an Aleut face," she said.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

Explore further: Digging up the 'Spanish Vikings'

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

People finding their 'waze' to once-hidden streets

12 hours ago

When the people whose houses hug the narrow warren of streets paralleling the busiest urban freeway in America began to see bumper-to-bumper traffic crawling by their homes a year or so ago, they were baffled.

Identity theft victims face months of hassle

12 hours ago

As soon as Mark Kim found out his personal information was compromised in a data breach at Target last year, the 36-year-old tech worker signed up for the retailer's free credit monitoring offer so he would ...

Observers slam 'lackluster' Lima climate deal

12 hours ago

A carbon-curbing deal struck in Lima on Sunday was a watered-down compromise where national intransigence threatened the goal of a pact to save Earth's climate system, green groups said.

Your info has been hacked. Now what do you do?

12 hours ago

Criminals stole personal information from tens of millions of Americans in data breaches this past year. Of those affected, one in three may become victims of identity theft, according to research firm Javelin. ...

New Bond script stolen in Sony hack

12 hours ago

An "early version" of the screenplay for the new James Bond film was the latest victim of a massive hacking attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment, its producers said in a statement on their website Sunday.

Ag-tech could change how the world eats

17 hours ago

Investors and entrepreneurs behind some of the world's newest industries have started to put their money and tech talents into farming - the world's oldest industry - with an audacious agenda: to make sure there is enough ...

Recommended for you

Digging up the 'Spanish Vikings'

14 hours ago

The fearsome reputation of the Vikings has made them the subject of countless exhibitions, books and films - however, surprisingly little is known about their more southerly exploits in Spain.

Short-necked Triassic marine reptile discovered in China

Dec 17, 2014

A new species of short-necked marine reptile from the Triassic period has been discovered in China, according to a study published December 17, 2014 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Xiao-hong Chen f ...

Gothic cathedrals blend iron and stone

Dec 17, 2014

Using radiocarbon dating on metal found in Gothic cathedrals, an interdisciplinary team has shown, for the first time through absolute dating, that iron was used to reinforce stone from the construction phase. ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.