Inuit Harpoon

The Inuit harpoon was used for many purposes in hunting. There were many sizes of harpoons used for different animals. Small harpoons were used to hunt the smaller animals, as well as birds. The larger harpoons were used in the hunting of walrus and whales, and other big animals. The Inuit depended on the harpoon to survive and to find food for themselves and their tribe.

Inuit Reports - Information on the Inuit and their lives

Harpoons - Harpoons and the cultures that used them

The shaft of the Inuit harpoon was made out of wood if it was available, so that it would float in the water. This was essential so that the harpoon would not sink. If wood could not be used, then the harpoon could have been fashioned together with narwhal tusks, or a few pieces of bones and/or antlers that were spliced into one. Depending on what the harpoon was to be used for, the size and weight of them would differ. If the harpoon was to be thrown at a breathing hole, they could be fashioned shorter and lighter. Harpoons meant for killing larger animals, such as the walrus or a whale, would be constructed out of heavier shafts and made longer. An ice-hunting harpoon may have had an antler or a chisel strapped to the butt end of it, so that if a seal was caught through the breathing holes, they could be pulled through easier. Some harpoons were thrown using a throwing board. This enabled them to be propelled faster than what throwing them by hand could do.

Learn Net - Arctic harpoons

Native Access - Different types of harpoons, includes pictures

The Inuit harpoon has been found as far back as thousands of years. There have been many changes in the way the harpoon has been made, so as to increase the efficiency and accuracy of the harpoon. Different physical attributes of the harpoons that have been found over the years can help reveal the age of the item, as well as the culture it was attached to.

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