SCR13 - Two Barbed Eskimo Sealing Harpoon
This pair of old (probably prehistoric)
sealing harpoons probably originated in the Bering Straits—either on St.
Lawrence Island, or nearby on the northern Alaska coast. The harpoon heads are
in the older barbed style, with multiple barbs (one having four, the other
five), and show two manners of attaching the head to a fore shaft. The smaller
head is 3 ¾ inches long, 5/8 inches maximum height, and is composed of walrus
ivory with age staining at its base. There is damage at its base, but does not
appear to have been drilled with a socket for the fore shaft. Rather, there is
a narrow slit that perforates the base and was likely used to either lash a
shaft to the head, or affix a seal leather line to the head. The rearmost of
the 5 barbs has lost its tip. The second harpoon head is made of bone or
antler (caribou). It is 4 7/8 inches long, with a greatest height of about 1
inch. One of the second tier of barbs (4 total) has been broken off.. The
damage is old, and the broken base was smoothed with knife cuts. The base of
the head is tapered, and probably fitted into a socket in the harpoon fore
shaft. A drilled transverse hole was used to attach the harpoon line to it.
This is an engaging pair points for a harpoon collection. Easily Good.