Artifact of the Week: Bone Hide Scraper

This knife is not made of metal. What do you think it was used for?

Who would have used it? When do you think it was made?



Answers:

This knife is not made of metal. What do you think it was used for?

The blade of this knife was made from bone. It was used to scrape fat from the hides of animals which were hunted by the native inhabitants of the Aleutian Islands, a subarctic chain of islands stretching between Alaska and Russia. Skins of sea lions or seals prepared in this way were then worn as clothing or stretched over kayaks to make them water-tight.

Who would have used it? When do you think it was made?

This knife was made and used by Aleutian Unangan people. It was donated to the Karshner collections in 1938, and is believed to have been made in the decade prior to that.



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