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The continuous development of these peoples is demonstrated by the similarities in both ancient and modern Inuit cultures.Called by some the Old Bering Sea Cultures, these early inhabitants traveled by kayak and umiak skin boats in the warmer months, and by sled in the winter.Point Hope, still a small Inuit village at the mouth of the Kukpuk River, appears to have been continuously inhabited for 2,000 years, making it the oldest known Inuit settlement.The population of the historical Ipiutak was probably larger than that of the modern village of Point Hope, with a population of about 2,000 people.
Anthropologically classified as central-based wanderers, the Inuit spent part of the year on the move, searching for food, and then part of the year at a central, more permanent camp.Anywhere from a dozen to fifty people traveled in a hunting group.The year was divided into three hunting seasons, revolving around one animal. The yearly cycle began with the spring seal hunting, continued with caribou hunting in the summer, and fishing in the autumn. In the far north, whales were hunted in the early spring.Houses at Ipiutak were small, about 12 by 15 feet square, with sod-covered walls and roof.Benches against the walls were used for sleeping, while the fire was kept in a small central depression of the main room.
Within Inupiat territory, the main population centers are Barrow and Kotzebue. Anthropologists have discerned several different cultural epochs that began around the Bering Sea.