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: Remains of French ship being reassembled in Texas

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

US official: Auto safety agency under review

11 hours ago

Transportation officials are reviewing the "safety culture" of the U.S. agency that oversees auto recalls, a senior Obama administration official said Friday. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been criticized ...

Out-of-patience investors sell off Amazon

11 hours ago

Amazon has long acted like an ideal customer on its own website: a freewheeling big spender with no worries about balancing a checkbook. Investors confident in founder and CEO Jeff Bezos' invest-and-expand ...

Ebola.com domain sold for big payout

11 hours ago

The owners of the website Ebola.com have scored a big payday with the outbreak of the epidemic, selling the domain for more than $200,000 in cash and stock.

Recommended for you

Remains of French ship being reassembled in Texas

Oct 24, 2014

A frigate carrying French colonists to the New World that sank in a storm off the Texas coast more than 300 years ago is being reassembled into a display that archeologists hope will let people walk over ...

User comments : 0