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Ancient ivory maskette found on arctic island

An ancient maskette made of ivory and two Dorest houses, which dates back between 1,500 and 800 years ago, have been found on a Canadian arctic island.

They have uncovered two Dorset houses, each of them nine meters long, that date to somewhere between 1,500 and 800 years ago. Constructed of stone and sod they were sunk partly into the ground to help insulate them.

One of the most intriguing artefacts they’ve found is a 5 centimetre long ivory maskette that may have been used by a shaman – a person who would have connected the people with the spiritual world. It’s the first complete maskette found in northern Quebec (an area also known as Nunavik) in more than 50 years.

“It’s quite possible that it had some kind of shamanic connection, there was some kind of religious or spiritual side to it,” said archaeologist Susan Lofthouse, in an interview with Heritage Key.

It has a hole near the top which means it probably would have been worn like an amulet. It was cut out of walrus ivory and crafted with great skill as shown by the small details.

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