[an error occurred while processing this directive]

November 2004
Now more than a century of adventures and photographic memories from the magazine's archives are just a click away.

Digging It

Finding mammoth tusks wasn't a mammoth task in Alaska in the early 1900s. Though extinct for some 10,000 years, woolly mammoths left a lot of themselves behind. Often ancient ivory was found poking from the snow, but this tusk hunter probably had to dig for his. In another unpublished shot from our archives, he stands between the tusks, gripping a shovel. Notes on the image say the bottom of the pit where the tusks were found was "covered with hair and small pieces of bones."
Many tusk hunters in Alaska and elsewhere sold their finds. A September 1907 Geographic article reported that in Siberia "there has been a regular export of mammoth ivory. More than 100 pairs of mammoth tusks have come into the market yearly during the last 200 years." They're still coming. Trade in mammoth ivory remains legal to this day.

—Margaret G. Zackowitz

November Flashback
Send this image as a postcardPhotograph by Dave Gove

E-mail this page to a friend

Flashback Archive

© 2005 National Geographic Society. All rights reserved. Privacy Policy       Advertising Opportunities       Masthead

National Geographic Magazine Home Contact Us Forums Shop Subscribe