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Bone Tools of the Rat Islands: Aleut Identity, Subsistence, and Interaction with Landscape and Seascape

Author(s): Joshua Howard ; Caroline Funk ; Debra G. Corbett ; Brian W. Hoffman

Year: 2016

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Aleut bone tools offer a unique opportunity to study Aleut identity, relational ecology, interaction with seascape, tool technology, materiality, and subsistence strategies. A study of the Rat Islands was conducted in 2003 and 2009 by the Rat Islands Research Project to examine the Aleut sites found in the area in order to better understand the subsistence strategies, use of the environment, and the importance of landscape and seascape to the Aleut culture. During this study, due to the excellent preservation of bone at the RAT-081 site, over six thousand faunal remains were recovered including 500 bone tools. The bone tools date from 2500 to 250 years ago and are made of fish, sea mammal, and bird species. The recovery of bone tools allows for an examination of the everyday lives of the coastal Aleut through perishable artifacts that are under most conditions lost in the archaeological record. Aleut bone tools in particular are under-represented in scholarly literature. The paper will discuss Aleut identity, use of bone tools, relational ecology, bone tool technology, seascape, human-animal interaction, Aleut role on the landscape, and subsistence strategies using the Rat Islands bone tool assemblage.

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Bone Tools of the Rat Islands: Aleut Identity, Subsistence, and Interaction with Landscape and Seascape. Joshua Howard, Caroline Funk, Debra G. Corbett, Brian W. Hoffman. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 405224)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -178.41; min lat: 62.104 ; max long: 178.77; max lat: 83.52 ;

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America