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Filming at Cape Alitak.
Photo Courtesy Liz O'Connell

For thousands of years, Alutiiq people lived in sod houses and hunted sea mammals, relying on special technologies, ancestral knowledge, and spiritual assistance to care for their families.  The Cape Alitak petroglyphs are one of the few written records of their way of life. Pecked into Kodiak’s granite bedrock, images of people and animals preserve customs from the Alutiiq past.  Museum scientists reveal this history in seven video podcasts, films of 3 to 11 minutes each.

Created by the video production company WonderVisions with assistance from the Alutiiq Museum, the films document recent archaeological research on Kodiak rock art. Viewers learn about the Alutiiq traditions while watching a field crew at work in Kodiak’s dynamic natural environment. 

 

 

CLICK ON EACH TAB TO SEE A DIFFERENT VIDEO

 

Petroglyphs

The Appearing and Disappearing Petroglyphs of Cape Alitak (6:47)

Sven Haakanson explores the prehistoric petroglyphs of Cape Alitak, illustrating the images and patterns in their distribution.

 

 

Supported by the National Park Service Shared Beringian Heritage and Tribal Preservation programs.

Jewelry

Jewelry Alutiiq Style (4:41)

Alutiiq people have been wearing jewelry for thousands of years. Marnie Leist and Patrick Saltonstall discuss how labrets - lip plugs of stone, wood, or bone - helped people share their personal identity.

 


 

Supported by the National Park Service Shared Beringian Heritage and Tribal Preservation programs.

Hunting Whales

They Hunt Whales with Poison Spears (9:32)

The Alutiiq hunters who pursued whales carried special knowledge and spiritual power. Sven Haakanson and Patrick Saltonstall discuss the art of Alutiiq whaling and archaeological evidence of this activity.

 


 

Supported by the National Park Service Shared Beringian Heritage and Tribal Preservation programs.

Sod Houses

This Sod House (11:20)

How do archaeologists know where to dig? Follow Patrick Saltonstall, Sven Haakanson, and Mark Rusk around one of Cape Alitak's ancient villages as they identify and describe the depressions made by collapsed houses.

 


 

Supported by the National Park Service Shared Beringian Heritage and Tribal Preservation programs.

Charcoal

Going For Charcoal (4:55)

Wood charcoal helps archaeologists date village sites. Watch Mark Rusk and Patrick Saltonstall uncover an ancient hearth and sample the charcoal it contains.

 


 

Supported by the National Park Service Shared Beringian Heritage and Tribal Preservation programs.

Midden

What's in this Midden? Or Trash Identification. (3:14)

Midden is the word archaeologists use to describe ancient garbage. Patrick Saltonstall examines the contents of a Cape Alitak midden and reveals its story.


 

Supported by the National Park Service Shared Beringian Heritage and Tribal Preservation programs.

 

Storms

Storms at Cape Alitak - Stakes for Storms (3:30)

Kodiak is known for its blustery weather, but what is it like to camp in the wind? Sven Haakanson and Jill Lipka share their experiences.

 

 

Supported by the National Park Service Shared Beringian Heritage and Tribal Preservation programs.