aleut basalt stone tool, found 1998, unalaska, alaska

This object appear to be a stone tool found amongst a beach pebble rubble at the site of the Museum of the Aleutians in Margaret Bay in 1998, date and origin unknown. According to Rick Knecht, former Museum of the Aleutians Director, “What you have there(sic) is what we call a flake knife- which is just a flake of stone produced during the manufacture of stone tools, which was then retouched- or sharpened for use as an expedient cutting tool- then tossed afterward. It is probably the most common artifact on Unalaska so I think you can keep it with a clean conscience. It is made of basalt and judging by where you found it- was probably made around 3,000 years ago. Common- but still cool. Odds are very good that other tools made and used by the person who dropped it are contained somewhere in the very building you designed. History has an interesting symmetry to it.”

3 Replies to “aleut basalt stone tool, found 1998, unalaska, alaska”

  1. Hi: I happened to see an old blog of yours from one year ago (April 2007). It had a brief mention and a picture of a friend of yours, Ben Harris, who was moving from Alaska to New York to start a new career in farming. Ben is a long, lost friend of mine from his hometown of Memphis, TN. I am trying to find any contact info that you might have for him these days (e.g. teleophone, e-mail, etc.). Thanks so much, Henry Allen, Germantown, TN.

  2. While I am no expert, this doesn’t look like an ulu to me. Does the object show any grind marks or other evidence of having been worked by human hands? It could be a preform… like an adze preform. Again, I am no expert.
    Take care,

  3. Jill,
    thanks for your comment. i am not certain myself that it is an ulu. It sure feels like it in my hand. There is an indent that is where a thumb rest. As far as the edge, you can see in one of the photos, has been chipped or work, this was my first clue that human hands have modified it. i am not an expert either, but would be nice to get a feed back, and i know just the right archaeologist, Rick Knecht, the former Museum of the Aleutians Director.

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