Metal Armor from St. Lawrence Island

H. Kory Cooper and Gabriel J. Bowen

Abstract

According to oral history and archaeological evidence armor was an important innovation associated with warfare among Eskimo-speaking groups around Bering Strait and along the west coast of Alaska. The use of lamellar armor in this region—made of bone, antler, or ivory plates—is generally believed to be derived from the use of similar armor in Asia made of bone or metal. This paper describes metal armor at the University of Alaska Museum of the North from three sites on St. Lawrence Island and offers an explanation for when and how this armor was made. In addition, this paper provides an overview of the use of armor in Bering Strait and Western Alaska.

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