Monday, 4 July 2016

Whale Bone Alley of Yttygran Island

Along the northern shore of the remote Siberian island of Yttygran, in the Bering Sea, is an area recognized as the “Whale Bone Alley” where once the great sea beasts were mass slaughtered and their meat stored by the local tribes. Somewhere 40 years ago, Soviet archaeologists have unearthed dozens of bowhead whale bones, and skulls, which are prudently arranged in the ground spreading more than 550 meters and running parallel to the shore. Though, the rib bones are either stuck into the ground or propped up by rocks in a double line to form a sort of alley. Down the middle of the alley were huge skulls and square pits once thought to have contained tons of meat? Though, archeologists may be researching too much into the Whale Bone Alley. Hence, the local Yupik people believes that the site was nothing more than a place where whale hunters met and jointly butchered their catches, and then they naturally stored whale meat in pits. This simple theory is well supported by the fact that the Yupik name for Yttygran is Sikliuk, which comes from the word Siklyugak, which means "meat pit" in Yupik.

Whale Bone Alley is thought to have been formed about 600 years ago by a cooperative group of native tribes massive bones that were planted into the ground, numerous pits used for storing meat were found with fossilized whale bits still in them. Archaeologists believe that the “Whale Bone Alley” was built as a shrine and sacred meeting place by the Eskimos in the 14th century. Therefore, at that time there was an impermanent ice age, that caused in extended winter and food shortages which could have led to conflicts between Inuit tribes. Thus, Whale Bone Alley may have been the indistinct place where they could come together to talk over their problems, take part in sacrificial offerings and store their meat in the square pits that once existed between the bone walls. The overall effect is of a haunting titan's boneyard.  Moreover, many archaeologists and explorers believe that the site was established as a place of mutual worship and ritual for the united tribes. Whatever the history of this place, one thing is sure, the tourists love the area. The spectacular bone formations have been enticing myriads of tourists from all over the world each year.