Wight of the Nine Worlds


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700-year-old melting village in Alaska

The archaeologists from the University of Aberdeen have been racing against time and acting as quickly as they can in order to save the remains of a 700 year-old village in Quinhagak which is in Alaska. This village has been preserved under ice for centuries, but as it is exposed to the elements during the digging, it is in danger, exposed to the elements following the melting of permafrost.

Luckily the team of archaeologist have already recovered hundreds of preserved artefacts that have been kept intact for the following centuries underneath the permafrost. The findings include sixty wooden dolls with the original paint still on it, along with leather, fur, ceremonial masks, carvings of sea monsters from the myths, also plants and even a 400 year-old grass that has been frozen in time.

As you might imagine, the scientists had to work extremely fast in order to save all of these findings, since it is the first time in 700 years that the artefacts have been exposed to the natural elements. This is because the soil is held together by the ice, as the ice melts, the soil becomes very vulnerable to all the elements around and the marine erosion.

One of the most exciting findings was the strands of human hair, probably the leftover from a haircut, the archaeologists say, it was across the floor of a well preserved house. This also means that the scientists can perform an analysis and thus discover more about the diet of the original inhabitants of this place, the Yup'ik people.

There is little knowledge about these people, the so called Yup'ik people living in an area of north America which is three times bigger than Scotland. According to the records, it seems they moved there between 1300 and 1650, covering the little Ice Age which was a period of repid global climate changes during the early 15th century.

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