According to the Pratt Museum’s catalog this aerial photo of Nanwalek (PM 2001-014-0006) was taken sometimes between 1956 and 1974. The old church is clearly visible on the hillside with one of the small paths leading to it. I was surprised to see how much of the bluff was still intact. Wondering if this photo was taken closer to the 50s or the 70s?
This village scene in Nanwalek (PM 2003-046-0082) is from 1982. It was taken as part of the Housing and Urban Development Project for the North Pacific Rim before the houses and apartments were built. I thought this was the road that passes by the Eagle building and the store, but I am not sure if this is correct. What are the buildings/homes and are there any still standing?
The photo of this medallion (PM 1976-019-0001) might seem familiar to some of you. It was donated to the museum by Sarjus Kvasnikoff in the 1970s, who had found it in his garden in Nanwalek. The museum record does not say where the garden was, but I thought most gardens were down on the airport. It would make sense if this medallion came from airport, as it is Russian in origin. So finding it in the vicinity of where the fort must have stood seems plausible. The museum catalog had it identified as French, due to the fleur-de-lis symbol and the closed crown, but with some hours of internet research from Dave we figured out it was Russian. It is probably a badge that lower ranking officials wore on their chests. It is a thin copper plate embossed with the design measuring about 2 and ¾ inches in diameter.
The last item on the list (PM 1993-163-0663) is somewhat of a mystery. It came to the Pratt Museum as part of an excavation in the Kachemak Bay area. It is a carved ivory object from the Kachemak Tradition (so it is approximately 3000 – 1400 years old) that is less than an inch long. The way the photo is was taken makes it difficult to see the entirety the item, but the round, wheel like shape has that thin, horn-like shape carved out of it on both sides. It almost looks like as if would fit into another piece that was carved to go with it. It is done in great detail and has a smooth surface. Any ideas what it could have been for?
Regarding the aerial photo, I remember Toby telling me about his photos like this with notes he had from his trips across the bay when I worked with coastal studies 11 + yrs ago. Might he still have those notes? Also, I think tom kizzia has extensive notes about visiting nanwalek during the noted time period that helped him write essays, some of which were included in ‘wake of the unseen object’ & ADN. Knowing his vivid attention to painting stories with words, surely he would have a description of flying in that may help shed some light. Of course I look forward to hearing nanwalek residents can explain the details & what everything is! 🙂
To my eye, this object looks an awful lot like a labret! A piercing still common today, you can find similar pieces made from smoothed bone in piercing shops around the world.
Thank you for this information Liz – I will look into it! I thought about the labret theory, but the problem is it has the pointed protrusion on both sides, which would make it very difficult to wear it as a labret. The other thing I was thinking about it is perhaps part of a drill?
The little plug is to patch a hole in a gut raincoat or kayak skirt. You place the plug in the hole and tie the edges with sinew into the grove. There are sample of thse in the Russian Ethnology collection in St Petersburg
Thank you, Perry, for this information! I will check out a copy of “The Alutiit/Sugpiat: A Catalog of the Collections of the Kunstkamera” to see if I can find a photo by any chance.
Its not at the Kunstkamera, it at the Russian Ethnology Museum across town for the Kunstkamera
Send me an email address and I will send you a picture of the piece.
Thank you! It is email@example.com. Also, would you have the email for a contact person at the Museum I can get in touch with?
The plug first reminded me of a labret.