Unalaska Island, Dutch Harbor

Unangan/Alutig Aleutian Tradition, 5000 BP - AD 1800

 

 

 

G-10 Tapered Stem Basalt Blade

L: 4.9", W: 1.3", T: .30" #62

 

These Aleut Projectiles and Blades were collected by Donald M. Witt

  1942 - 1944 @Captains Cove, Unalaska Island.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Black Chalcedony or Glassy Basalt Socketed Stem Blade

Length: 3.9", Thickness: .31", Width: 1.04", Stem Length: .75" #12

There are impact fractures on each side of this piece.

 

 

Black Chalcedony or Glassy Basalt Blade #11

Length: 4.2", Thickness: .26", Width: .97", Stem Length: .77"

 

 

 The following information is a transcription from a newspaper article written on July 8, 1943 in "The Aleutian ", a paper developed by the military during World War II.  I have not included in this transcription, the personal names of the servicemen involved except for my father. I do this out of respect for the privacy of these servicemen and their families.

   I also believe it is important for the readers to remember, this article was written in

1943, at a time when today's appropriate respect and understanding of the sensitivities of the Native American was not given in full measure. Any quote in this excerpt that is not sensitive, is done for factual information and to relate the authenticity of my claims.

 

William F. Witt

 

 

 

 

Ovate Blade #60

Length: 4.7" , Width: 1.7", Thickness: .38"

Impact fracture from a diggers tool

 

 

DIGGER PROBE ALEUT RELICS

   Bulldozers scraping roadbeds and shovel crews laying pipe mains are everyday turning up new vestiges of many ancient Aleut villages on Amaknak and Unalaska islands, happy hunting grounds for the dozens of archaeologists at this base.

 

For three thousand years Aleut hunters and basket weavers, bone carvers and fish driers went about their work at villages scattered over both islands. Present excavations have already brought tons of their tools and rubbish, and others are constantly being uncovered.

 

BONE HUNT BOOM

   Leading the Harbor's (Dutch Harbor) probers in the ways of this area's past inhabitants is Lieut. A. R Cohn Assistant Security Officer at NOB. A former zoological professor at the University of Illinois, Lieut. Cahn has published more than 100 articles on zoological and archaeological subjects.

 

   Center of the digging fervor in the Army is Battery C of the Arkansawyers. To Pvt. (T.W.), in the outfit before being transferred to the States, goes the credit for starting the bone hunt among the dogfaces.

(T.W. 's) find of more than a year ago is traceable to a session of pot-walloping. While dumping KP slops near a pipeline excavation, the Antiaircraft man stumbled upon a fine arrowhead. Bitten with the digging bug, (T.W.) and his buddies of Hut number 8 made the dirt fly, uncovered a large collection of bone and stone relics and started the Army's boom.

 

   Lieut. Cahn has explored the sites of nine large villages on Amaknak, three smaller ones on Unalaska, and believes many more await investigation. He has already sent a dozen large boxes of relics to the Field Museum in Chicago for cataloging and display.

 

STONE AGE STUFF

   This authority believes the findings now being made at the end of the spit to be the oldest here, estimating that they date from about 1000 B. C. Everything found so far has been of Aleut origin, he says, there being no traces of previous race.

 

   Some relics have been unearthed 12 feet beneath the surface. Originally left in the baraharas, the half underground Aleut houses, they have been buried deeper through the years by the thick showers of ash that followed frequent eruptions in the surrounding mountains.

 

   All relics show the Aleuts to have been at the Stone Age level of civilization, without metals.

The most profitable digging spots are the kitchen middens, or dump heaps, on which the Aleuts threw broken tools, bones and rubbish.

 

SENTIMENTAL MOTIVE

   Typical of the diggers at such a spot is Donald M Witt, MM2c of the Smithmen at Captain's Bay. Coming upon a midden site accidentally bared by a dozer, Witt has found bone harpoons, awls and needles, stone knives and arrowheads. Down in Tulare County near his Porterville, Cal. home, Witt has collected Indian relics for I5 years.

 

(R. G.) CMIc at the Sheep Ranch, has a more sentimental motive for combing through the midden behind Fort Mears. His best girl, a research worker for the New York Museum of Natural History, taught him the science of field trips near his Cranston, R.I. home.

 

Another professional digger is (C.B.), F1c of the Dallasmen, a member of the Pennsylvania Research Society. (C. B.) has more than I, 000 Indian artifacts in his collection back in Washington, Pa. Here he has used forks and other probes to uncover bone spears and hooks, an obsidian knife and a rare stone carving of a whale.

 

16 Skeletons Unearthed

   Among the thousand5 of bone picks and harpoons, stone knives and lamps, very few pieces of ivory have been found; indicating that the Aleuts had little commerce with the ivory using tribes to the north.

 

   The most spectacular find here have been the occasional skulls and full skeletons, I6 of which were found in one group late in 194 I. All have been well preserved, the cold counteracting deterioration due to dampness.

 

   Pointing to the large number of valuable relics missed by overenthusiastic pick-and-shovel archaeologists, Lieut. Cahn's advice to the diggers is "less elbow grease and more care"

 

This is an actual, verbatim copy of the entire article with the omission of the proper names of the servicemen referred to with initials only and the explanation of "Harbor's" as Dutch Harbor.

William F. Witt

 

 

Basalt Lanceolate #50

L: 4.9" , W: 1.0", T: .29"

 

 

 

Side-Notched Projectile #51

L: 2.0" ,W: .80",T .24"

 

 

 

Dutch Harbor Stemmed Dart #52

A medium to large sized point with a medium,

contracting, square to rounded " beaver tail" stem. Shoulders are weak

L: 2.6" , W: 1.12", T: .25"

 

 

Dutch Harbor Stemmed Dart #28

A medium to large sized point with a medium,

contracting, square to rounded " beaver tail" stem. Shoulders are weak

L: 2.8" , W: 1.2", T: .18"

 

 

 

 

Dutch Harbor Dart #53

L: 2.30" , W: .85", T: .25"

 

 

 

 

 

Projectile #54

L: 1.63" , W: .48", T: .17"

 

 

 

 

 

Tanged Square Butt Knife #56

L: 2.6" , W: 1.31", T: .25"

 

 

http://www.alaskanartifacts.com/Witt/Witt_Collection_58.htm

Dipped in water brings out the rich Brown Andesite #58

 

 

Rare Trihedral Projectile

L: 3.8" , W: .76", T: .37"

 

 

 

 

 

Blade #68

L: 3.527" , W: .71", T: .23"

 

 

 

 

Oval Blade #59

L: 3.73" , W: 1.16", T: .31

 

 

 

 

 

Blade #57

L: 3.74" , W: .97", T: .29

 

 

 

 

 

Blade  #55

L: 3.63", W: .92",T: .27"

 

 

 

Blade  #69

L: 3.53", W: .71", T: .23"

 

 

 

 

 

Glassy Basalt Projectile #61

L: 1.45" , W: .64", T: .14"

 

 

 

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Celebrating 13 Years On-Line

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