“I was totally astonished,” said Hoffecker. “The object appears to be older than the house we were excavating by at least a few hundred years.”
Hoffecker and his CU-Boulder colleague Owen Mason said the bronze object resembles a belt buckle and may have been used as part of a harness or horse ornament prior to its arrival in Alaska. While they speculated the Inupiat Eskimos could have used the artifact as a clasp for human clothing or perhaps as part of a shaman’s regalia, its function on both continents still remains a puzzle, they said.
Story: Jon Hoffecker, Eurekalert | Photo: Jeremy Foin, University of California, Davis