Here's a look at a display of Alaskan, and specifically Aleut, items at Harvard's Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology. (We previously blogged about the Peabody's fine diorama of a Baffinland Inuit settlement.) I apologize for the quality of the photography, which was shot on my mobile phone, through glass, without a flash.
|To the diorama's right of center, a man works on his overturned kayak, of a type typical of Kodiak Island and displaying the distinctive Aleut stern. His double-bladed paddle is much shorter than the Eastern Inuit paddle shown in the previous post, and the blades are broader. The function of the different colors of the two blades is, I presume, purely decorative.|
|The kayak at the diorama's center shows a full complement of deck gear, including paddle, harpoon, possibly a throwing stick (i.e., atl atl) and what I believe are javelins on the aft deck. A bent-wood box is also seen.|
|Kayaks are stored fairly low off the ground on wood supports. Unlike the Baffinland Inuit, the Kodiak Island Aleuts had no dogs from which they needed to protect the boats' skin covers.|
|Model of an Kodiak Island 3-hole kayak. The three-person baidarka came into use after the coming of Russian fur traders, who typically sat in the center cockpit and did not paddle.|
|Model showing the frame of a three-hole kayak similar to the one above, displaying the distinctive bifurcated stem and vertical sternpost. The kayak is very roomy, suitable for carrying large cargoes of fur -- especially of the favored sea otter.|