Ipiutak, Point Hope

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Ipiutak, Point Hope

by | Feb 10, 2021

lpiutak is a prehistorical culture located on Point Hope, about 133 miles (215 km) southwest of Point Lay and 1 mile (1.6 km)  northwest of New Tigara, also known as Tikiġaq or the village of Point Hope, Alaska. Ipiutak is the present-day Iñupiat name for an early village that is now an archaeological site and National Historic Landmark on the southern shore of lpiutak Lagoon. The lagoon is 0.5 miles (0.8 km) across, at the western end of Marryat Inlet.

The Ipiutak site was discovered in 1939 by archaeologists Helge Larsen and Froelich Rainey. The Ipiutak culture arose possibly as early as 100–200 BCE and collapsed around 800 CE. The site consists of nearly 600 abandoned house depressions along four beach ridges and a burial ground. The age of the house pits suggests that the village was occupied for 300–400 years, and about 125–200 people lived at the site during any one generation in 20 to 30 houses. Excavations in 1940 and 1941 produced artifacts from 74 driftwood constructed houses and over 120 burials that are now archived at museums in Fairbanks, New York, and Copenhagen.

The houses of the Ipiutak were approximately square and 10-16 feet (3-5 m) on a side. Each house had a central hearth in which driftwood and blubber were burned, presumably in an open fire. Some driftwood was used in construction and some of the houses had a plank or pole flooring surrounding the central hearth. The walls and roof may have been made either of logs or from sod blocks, moss, or walrus skin, supported by a framework of driftwood. No stones or whalebones were used in the structures, unlike historical Iñupiat houses. The entrance was on the same level as the house floor and always on the west side. Read more here and here. Explore more of Ipiutak here:

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