Archaeological Fieldwork Reports for 1997
All reports compiled and edited by Margaret Bertulli, Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre
Little Cornwallis Island
Cominco Polaris Operations proposes to mine the Eclipse deposit on Little Cornwallis Island over the winters of 1999/2000 and 2000/2001. The Eclipse orebody is a small deposit located 28 kilometres from the Polaris Mine.
Cominco plans to construct a 38-kilometre haul road from the Eclipse orebody to Polaris Mine, and to establish a barge off-loading area at a location either five kilometres northeast of Healy Isthmus, or on the western coast of Templeton Bay. Peter Dawson of the University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta and Simon Idlout of Resolute Bay surveyed the areas which may be affected by the haul road and the two proposed off-loading areas.
Aerial and foot surveys of the preferred and alternate routes for the haul road show that large sections of both routes are clear of archaeological sites. Much of the road is inland and above 20 metres above sea level. Four previously unrecorded sites were located in the vicinity of a narrow isthmus which links the northeastern and southwestern sections of Little Cornwallis Island. It was recommended that the haul road and off-loading activities be staged at least 100 metres away from these sites. An aerial survey of the Eclipse drill site by helicopter confirms the results of earlier surveys that the area has very low archaeological potential.
Peter Dawson and Lizzie Alarualik of Resolute Bay and John Erwin of the University of Calgary also surveyed selected areas along the west coast of Little Cornwallis Island between Royle Point and North Bay. The purpose was to compile an inventory of sites and to mark those which are located where Cominco Exploration is currently operating drills. This information will be used by exploration geologists to plan drilling activities in such a way as to avoid impact to archaeological resources.
A survey of the proposed drilling locations, trails, and storage areas resulted in the identification of seven previously unreported sites. Of these, five are Palaeo-Eskimo or Thule and two show Euro-Canadian and Inuit use of the island.
The sites are not threatened by Cominco Exploration’s proposed drilling. It was recommended that any additional activities be staged at least 100 metres away from any site.
Wall Bay, King William Island
A small group of people including Joanne Laserich of Cambridge Bay and Margaret Bertulli, Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre, flew to a drumlin inland of Wall Bay on northwestern King William Island. The purpose of the trip was to determine whether two features, a long mound and an irregular patch of black rocks, located by Joanne Laserich and Tom Gross of Hay River earlier in the summer could be cultural features related to the final Franklin expedition of 1845. The expedition had abandoned its ships, H.M.S Erebus and Terror, after having been beset in ice off the northwestern coast of the island and trekked its length. The discoverers of the feature had posited that the long mound could be a mass grave and that the patch of black rocks could have been Franklin’s grave. Both features proved to be natural but two Inuit artifacts, bone and whalebone implements, were recovered from the second feature.
A limited survey of the islets north of O’Reilly Island was conducted by Margaret Bertulli, Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre, in conjunction with a team sponsored by Eco Nova Multimedia Productions to search for Franklin’s lost ships, H.M.S. Erebus and Terror. This area, west of Adelaide Peninsula, was a good place to hunt seals and caribou; and several of the islets have numerous tent rings, caches, and large scatters of animal bone. The occupations of the islands are related to the Historic and contemporary Inuit as well as their Thule ancestors.
Cape Crozier Expedition, King William Island
The 1997 Cape Crozier Expedition, consisting of John Harrington, Derek Smith and John MacDonald, had two objectives: to survey the west coast of the Graham Gore Peninsula; and to collect the human remains scattered on the surface of NgLj-3, the Schwatka site, and to inter these remains in a cairn.
The Schwatka site was rediscovered in 1993. It is the location where at lest three of the Franklin crew perished after abandoning the ships. This is likely the location of the lifeboat and human remains which Lieutenant Frederick Schwatka, U. S. Army, had found in 1879. In 1994, the surface distribution of the artifacts and human remains was mapped. In 1996, the displacement of the remains due to natural causes was considered serious enough to make a recommendation to the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre that they be gathered, placed in a metal container and a stone cairn built over the container. This was done and a plaque was placed on the cairn.
The west coast of the Graham Gore Peninsula was surveyed between Little Point and Cape Hodgson. The purpose was to discover Franklin-related sites as well as Inuit sites with mid-nineteenth century European artifacts. The objective was to determine whether the Franklin crews had travelled along the western coast of King William Island on their trek to the Back River.
Thirty sites were discovered; they range in age from Thule to the latter half of the twentieth century. The majority of sites are prehistoric and consist of 1-10 tent rings, often associated with caches. Five of the sites are twentieth-century Inuit hunting camps and two are multi-component, having both prehistoric tent rings and either a modern cache or cairn.
Only one site, near Cape Hodgson, appears to date to the Franklin period and is European. It consists of a large tent ring, unusual in the choice of wall rocks and the positioning of six exterior rock piles surrounding the ring. The rock piles are presumed to have held ropes which would have pulled out the sides of a tent–a European feature. No artifacts were discovered that could precisely identify the tent’s occupants. The modern cairn, mentioned above, was also located near Cape Hodgson and is likely European in origin. This cairn had been partially dismantled.
The ‘European-style’ tent ring may have a Franklin crew origin–it could represent the remains of either a small survey crew or a post-abandonment camp. None of the Inuit sites revealed any mid-nineteenth century artifacts which suggests that the crews did not follow the western coast of the Graham Gore Peninsula after abandoning the ships, or did not leave materials in their wake which the Inuit would have found useful.
Waters South of King William Island
A survey of the waters south of King William Island was organized by Eco-Nova Multimedia Productions of Halifax, Nova Scotia to search for the remains of Sir John Franklin’s ships, H. M. S. Erebus and Terror. The survey was conducted from the icebreaker CCGS Sir Wilfrid Laurier along the northwest shore of the Adelaide Peninsula. The operation involved the collaboration of several federal and territorial agencies including Fisheries and Oceans, Canadian Coast Guard; Canadian Hydrographic Services; Geological Survey of Canada, Energy, Mines and Resources; Department of National Defence; Parks Canada, Department of Canadian Heritage; and the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre.
Since the fall of 1992 when the Erebus and Terror had been declared to be of national historic significance by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, the Underwater Archaeology Section of Parks Canada has intensified its ongoing partnership with the Government of the Northwest Territories to ensure the proper handling of these sites, if or when they are discovered. Parks Canada also initiated the development of a Memorandum of Understanding between Canada and the United Kingdom. The Memorandum gives Canada the role of representing the owner of the ships, the United Kingdom. It also gives the ownership of artifacts which may be retrieved from the vessels to Canada, and was signed on 8 August 1997, days before the expedition began.
Using two search launches, two zodiacs and the icebreaker’s helicopter, the project completed the systematic sonar and depth sounding of over 80 square kilometres of sea bottom in two areas along the Adelaide Peninsula; one area is southeast of Kirkwall Island and the other is northeast of O’Reilly Island. No underwater wreck was detected; only natural features were defined.
The shorelines of the islands in the vicinity were searched for debris from an historic wreck. This resulted in the discovery and preliminary recording of over 100 tent rings. This part of the project has been previously described in the section entitled O’Reilly Island. These discoveries are important contributions to the late precontact and recent history of this part of the Arctic.
The second and southernmost search area, near O’Reilly Island, provided some surface finds which may offer clues to the nearby presence of one of Franklin’s ships. These include copper sheathing fragments from old seacraft or ships. Of diagnostic value is a heavy gauge copper disk which has been provisionally identified as the bottom of a pewter coffeepot of a type commonly used in England in the mid-nineteenth century.
This expedition was successful in covering a much larger search area than had been anticipated and in so doing eliminated a large area for future search parties. It also established a level of recording standards which can be used as a benchmark for future attempts to locate these remains of national and international historic importance.
Josephine Bay, Boothia Peninsula
Peter Jess of Jessco Logistics Ltd., Calgary, Alberta went to Josephine Bay, about 80 kilometres northwest of Taloyoak, to look for a ship under the ice. Eight people went on the trip. A wooden post had been sighted under the water and there was speculation that this was a ship’s mast. The crew spent five days looking under the ice with rotary side scan sonar, but nothing was found. The bottom of the bay is smooth with the odd outcrop of rock and is covered with gravel and baseball-sized rocks. No further work is planned.
Robert W. Park of the University of Waterloo, with a crew of five, spent a second field season at a small Thule site on Davidson Point, just across the Sylvia Grinnell River from Iqaluit. Three weeks of work at the site allowed us to excavate its remaining two winter houses. An important goal of our analysis of the findings from both summer’s excavations will be to learn if there are any differences in the way small groups of people like those who lived at the Davidson Point site spent the winter when compared to the larger groups that inhabited nearby much bigger Thule winter sites. Another goal will be to learn about how all the animal bones came to be in the houses. Were they all from animals hunted by the houses’ occupants, or were some of the bones put into the house pits long after they had been abandoned?
Kangirsujuak, Nunavik (Southern Hudson Strait)
Daniel Gendron of Avataq Cultural Institute carried out Phase II of the Petroglyph project near the community of Kangirsujuak on southern Hudson Strait.
The project had several components: the continuation of work at the Qajartalik site (JhEv-2); the excavation of two Thule semi-subterranean dwellings at JhEv-3 on Assuukaaq Island; the partial excavation and sampling of three Palaeo-Eskimo sites on Assuukaaq and Qajartalik; and surveys in Burgoyne Bay at Upirngivik Point and Qikirtaaluk Island.
Most of the work was done on Assuukaaq Island where a team of three archaeologists and four Inuit students excavated two Thule structures. Although few artifacts were found, the structures appear to have been occupied in the late eighteenth or early nineteenth century. Evidence of an underlying Dorset occupation was found in both structures, but its traces had later been scattered in building the semi-subterranean houses.
Work was also carried out on a newly-discovered Early Palaeo-Eskimo site at the north end of Assuukaaq. One structure was completely excavated and two others were partially excavated. Milky quartz, possibly obtained locally, is the predominant raw material of stone artifacts, and several artifacts bear a striking resemblance to Independence 1 tool types. Charcoal samples sufficient for dating purposes were collected from two of the structures. Another site on the northwestern end of the island was also tested and yielded a few Dorset artifacts, as well as a datable carbon sample. Most of the structures on both sites had a mid-passage.
A site (JhEv-32) on Qajartalik was also tested by excavating units in the mid-passages of two structures. Although few artifacts were collected, they are similar in style to Independence I collections, and again milky quartz is the predominant raw material. One charcoal sample was retrieved.
Work continued on the Petroglyph site (JhEv-2). Over 150 engravings on the three soapstone outcrops have been identified; many of the petroglyphs are becoming more difficult to distinguish because of the erosion of the soapstone blocks. Recent extraction activities were also noted indicating that the site is still visited by carvers searching for soapstone. Further testing of the area around the petroglyphs was unproductive and the nearby rock shelter yielded only two bones.
Qikirtaaluk Island was surveyed. Six new sites, ranging from Pre-Dorset times to post-contact occupations, were located on the southeast end of the island; a seventh site was found near JhEv-11 where a sixty-metre long alignment of rocks was recorded last summer. The new site is of Dorset origin and has another rock alignment, but this one is only 19 metres in length and incorporates two alcove-like features at both ends instead of circular features as in the longer alignment. Dorset artifacts are scattered throughout the area and a mid-passage structure is located near the south end of the alignment. A third rock alignment was also observed. This one is composed of two rows of rocks, 100 metres long; the rocks are spaced a metre apart. No other features were discovered in the vicinity and its origin is unknown.
Survey around Burgoyne Bay yielded 23 new sites, including Pre-Dorset and Dorset sites previously mentioned and five others on Assuukaaq. The remaining sites are located on the mainland.
Finally, a quick survey of Upirngivik Point resulted in the identification of eight sites including a petroglyph site (JgEu-1). This site had not been visited since its discovery in 1961. Eleven engravings are still visible on the soapstone outcrop which measures six square metres. The site itself is much larger and includes many dwellings from different time periods and extends for several hundred metres toward the south. The other sites near Upirngivik range form Pre-Dorset times to post-contact occupations.
Charlton Island, James Bay
A team of four people representing the Iyiyuu People of Waskaganish First Nation did preliminary historical, archaeological and cultural fieldwork on Charlton Island.
The team was made up of Iyiyuu “tallyman” Norman Jolly, Annie Jolly, Richard Small as interpreter/assistant and Jim Chism as archaeologist and cultural-historical researcher.
Surface examination of active beaches and wind-eroded patches of fossil beaches yielded no evidence of pre-European occupations at this preliminary stage of work. Surface examinations of the general area proposed to be the site of Thomas James’ 1831-32 “Charles Town” settlement was negative; subsurface testing will be necessary. The 1681-86 Hudson’s Bay Company transhipment settlement, partially excavated by Walter Kenyon’s Royal Ontario Museum team in 1971 was relocated. The Northeast half of the depot (actually a depot-residence) has been lost to erosion. Forty-nine Iyiyuu place names/stories were collected along with numerous facts and stories related to the history and pattern of land-use during the last two generations. A historic cemetery, a burial cairn and building traces from a 1900-1931 Hudson’s Bay Company transhipment site were also mapped. More work is foreseen.
An archaeological assessment of proposed development facilities associated with the Arauco Resources Limited Goose Lake Project was conducted by Gloria J. Fedirchuk and Wendy J. Unfreed of Fedirchuk McCullough & Associates Ltd, Calgary, Alberta. Examined in some detail were two potential mine locations, two potential airstrips and a camp. An overview of a potential winter road between Goose Lake west and north to Beechey Lake was also completed and consisted of a helicopter over-flight and ground visitation of three areas along Beechey Lake.
No archaeological or historic sites were identified in association with the proposed facilities or along the proposed winter road. However, a large stone feature site was identified by the helicopter pilot, Ralph Ronza. The site, on the Western River. was visited and recorded. It is not associated with the proposed Goose Lake Project facilities.
Lac de Gras
An archaeological assessment was conducted by Gloria J. Fedirchuk, Fedirchuk McCullough & Associates Ltd., Calgary, Alberta on a group of small islands which occur within the area proposed by Diavik Diamonds Mines Inc. for development. Two Yellowknife Elders, Therese Sangris and Jonas Fishbone, and interpreter Christine Allen participated in the field assessment. Three larger and four smaller islands were examined for signs of previous occupation and use. Neither archaeological nor historical sites were identified during the field visit.
Harvaqtuuq Historic Site, Kazan River
A three-week survey was done on the western half of the Fall Caribou Crossing National Historic Site. This was the second year of a two-year effort by Parks Canada and the Harvaqtuuq Historic Site Committee of Baker Lake to document archaeological resources in this newly-designated Historic Site, which extends for 40 km along the Harvaqtuuq–the lower Kazan River.
Nearly 600 archaeological features were recorded this year, resulting in a total of about 1300 features for the entire Historic Site. These features are boulder structures (tent rings, caches, inuksuit, blinds, hearths, qajaq stands, and other types of constructions) as well as concentrations of artifacts and animal bone. They are visible on the ground surface, particularly on upland terrain where distribution of sediment and vegetation on the bedrock is thin. Like last year, features were located using a Leica Wild 200 Global Positioning System (GPS) with daily processing of data to establish their positions to within less than a metre.
Dense concentrations of features were recorded at caribou crossings on Thirty Mile Lake. They included tent rings and qarmat-type dwellings in boulder fields containing musk-ox as well as caribou bone. The Baker Lake elders’ advisory committee approved the collection of animal bone from select features in order to address questions about hunting in the past. For instance, how did differences in season affect the hunting, butchering and caching of meat? We know from elders that making dry meat in spring was very different from caching meat during fall. How did this affect the types of bones found in caches and tent rings? Max Friesen, a member of the Parks Canada team that carried out the survey, collected caribou bone and is analysing this collection at the University of Toronto.
Elders Luke Tunguaq and Elizabeth Tunnuq and oral historians Joan Scottie and Darren Keith accompanied archaeologists to former spring and summer camps where elders discussed different types of features including unique or unusual ones. Among the latter were artifacts and cobble patterns left by children as well as an eight metre long line of paired boulders for straightening wood for qajaq-building. Elders distinguished dry meat, fresh meat and equipment cache structures. Among many perishable remains were fragments of a willow mat (qilaktat) inside a tent ring.
Since 1993 when this work began, the archaeological research has been closely coordinated with oral history and place name recording under the guidance of an elders advisory committee in Baker Lake. The final report on archaeology, being prepared by consultant Andrew Stewart, will include results of analysis of settlement patterns, faunal remains and Harvaqtuurmiut land use as it is presently understood from the oral histories.
Arvia’juaq National Historic Site
“We want to make good use of the artifacts that are on the ground. We don’t want them to be left while there are elders around to interpret them. This can be used to determine the history and life in Inuit past. ” Martina Anoee, Arviat elder
These words capture the primary goal of the archaeological work done on Arvia’juaq National Historic Site during the summer of 1997. Arviat elders consider themselves the last who know of their traditional life. They wanted to excavate on Arvia’juaq to provide their interpretation of found artifacts, and to pass this knowledge to the next generation to ensure it is not lost.
With the help of Arviat residents, Ronald Suluk, Joe Arloo, Paul Komak, and Norman Igloopialiak, a Thule tent ring and a Caribou Inuit tent ring were excavated. These tent rings were chosen with the help of Martina Anoee, who described how the tents were spatially organized. Excavations then proceed around this information.
All cultural material is being cleaned, catalogued, and organized into a geographic information system. After preliminary analysis is completed, elders will describe the use and possibly the development of individual artifacts. The elders’ traditional knowledge, incorporated with archaeological analysis of present and past excavations, will continue to document Inuit life at Arvia’juaq National Historic Site.
East of Bathurst Inlet
Gabriella Prager of Points West Heritage Consulting Ltd., Langley, BC continued an inventory and impact assessment east of Bathurst Inlet; 23 sites near areas of possible development were also tested. The work was carried out for BHP World Minerals which is exploring for gold in the area. Specific locations were surveyed within an area extending from Roberts Bay (off Melville Sound) 60 kilometres south, including a portion of the Koignuk River, to a large lake known locally as Spyder Lake. Brian Akoluk, a student from Bathurst Inlet, assisted with the work.
Forty-three new sites were recorded; most had multiple features. Several large sites which comprise a number of tent rings, caches, and large quantities of bone were found in the vicinity of Spyder Lake, indicating repeated and/or long-term use. Numerous rock features were recorded, including tent rings, traps, caches, hearths/windbreaks, signal rocks and hunting blinds. The sites with rock features appear to range in age from Thule to historic times. In addition, several sites contained chert flakes and one site revealed buried stone tools, including chert microblades and a possible burin, suggestive of the Palaeo-Eskimo period.
A good portion of the sites contain at least some bone, mainly caribou; one site on Spyder Lake contained large amounts of buried bone, suggesting repeated use of that location, possibly over a long period of time. Several sites revealed bone and stone artifacts, and a number had historic artifacts. The low artifact yield indicates that most of these sites were occupied for short periods of time, although many may have been occupied repeatedly. The large number of sites (100 over three seasons) shows that this area has been intensively used in the past.
North of Lac de Gras
Jean Bussey of Points West Heritage Consulting Ltd., Langley, BC directed archaeological investigations for BHP Diamonds Inc. in its claim block north of Lac de Gras. She was assisted by Gabriella Prager, Brian Apland, Carol Rushland as well as Camilia Zoe-Chocolate of the Dogrib Treaty 11 Council and Bernice and Berna Francois of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation. This was the fourth year of work and 30 new sites were added to the previous inventory of 87. In addition, excavations were conducted at three sites threatened by the proposed development of an open pit mine. During a second trip to the study area, the locations of 94 sites were accurately determined using an advanced Global Positioning System (GPS); this is intended to ensure that site boundaries can be identified and avoided even under snow cover.
The emphasis of the project has been on surveying areas near proposed developments and exploration. As a result, the shores of large and small lakes and a variety of different landforms have been examined. The majority of the sites have been associated with eskers and esker remnants. The sites found in 1997 were on several portions of the claim block, including two areas that had not been previously examined. Fifteen sites were located on eskers and esker remnants near Yamba Lake in the northwestern portion of the study area and three were found in the southwestern portion. Two sites were found on a large esker, locally called the Misery Esker in the southeastern portion of the study area. Two sites were found on a discontinuous section of esker east of the Ekati Diamond Mine; another was on an esker remnant to the north of the mine. Six new sites were found on the esker between Exeter and Ursula Lakes. Investigations of a limited section of the shore of Lac de Gras yielded a single site. All sites are characterized by unworked stone flakes and they range in size from very small to very large, containing light to dense concentrations of artifacts.
The sites known as LdNs-16, 17 and 18 are located near the road and camp of the proposed open pit mine in the southeastern portion of the study area, near the south end of the Misery Esker. Excavations were undertaken at these sites and varying quantities of lithic material were recovered, primarily unworked quartzite. Analysis of these materials will be undertaken during the winter.
Ekati Diamond Mine
Christopher Hanks, BHP Diamonds Inc. also held a Northwest Territories Archaeologists Permit as part of the site management programme for the Ekati Diamond Mine. The permit was to be used to conduct short surveys to investigate proposed changes in the footprint of the mine and in the eventuality that a previously unrecorded site was discovered. Before beginning any investigation under either of these circumstances, the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre was to be notified.
A joint project was conducted with the Yellowknives Dene Traditional Knowledge Study. This study is related to the development of the Ekati Diamond Mine. BHP staff worked with Yellowknives Dene elders to examine a site they traditionally used at Pointe de Misère on Lac de Gras, and to confirm the location of a grave remembered by elders near the narrows of Lac du Sauvage.
The Inuvialuit Petroleum Corporation (IPC) is planning to develop the Ikhil Gas Reservoir to supply natural gas for the Town of Inuvik. Andrew Mason of Golder Associates Ltd., Burnaby, BC carried out an impact assessment of the existing Ikhil well site, a winter access trail, two proposed well sites and gas pipeline right-of-way located north of Inuvik. Field surveys on vegetation, fisheries and wildlife were also conducted by other specialists.
Areas with high archaeological potential, such as well-drained ground, lake shore, and the leading edges of terraces, were traversed. The entire winter trail was also surveyed as were the three cellists and the production facilities area.
Areas with low or moderate potential were sampled. These areas tended to be poorly drained and lacked significant landforms or vegetation/wildlife communities that would suggest prolonged use. Shovel testing targeted locations considered to have moderate to high potential but lacking surface evidence of archaeological sites. Test pits were shovelled down to permafrost.
No sites were located in the project area. Two previously recorded sites (NeTs-2 and NeTs-4) were revisited and one historic camp was identified along the pipeline right-of-way.
The historic camp is slightly off the right-of-way on the shore of a small lake, and it will not be disturbed. The site consists of two areas. The first is a small terrace roughly three metres above the lake on its western side. This location contains a log feature, possibly the remains of a reindeer fence. The second area of the site consists of a flat bench adjacent to the lake immediately southwest of the terrace with the log feature. This area is well-drained with disturbed vegetation and a sawn pole fragment on the surface, suggesting that this location had been used as a camp.
The Kitigaaryuit Archaeological Inventory and Mapping Project of 1997 consisted of a number of components. The crew started with a survey of a nine-kilometre stretch of the mainland coast immediately west of the island on which
the village of Kitigaaryuit is located. Elders from Tuktoyaktuk mentioned that a residential area and graves related to Kitigaaryuit were at the east end of the survey area. Also mentioned was the place name of what may be the old village of Sanmiraq. A crew of three consisting of Cathy Cockney (Inuvialuit Social Development Program, Inuvik), Don Gardner (Old Ways Ltd., Calgary) and Elisa Hart (principal investigator, Cochrane, Alberta – formerly of Yellowknife) first conducted a preliminary survey by helicopter and spent the next four days surveying and recording features on foot.
Within the first few kilometres were 67 log graves, three recent camps, a reindeer corral, and a number of isolated artifacts and faunal remains. The remains of an occupation area previously located by Robert McGhee (Canadian Museum of Civilization, Hull, Québec) was relocated and may be Sanmiraq. The cultural remains thinned out in the remaining portion of the survey area and three recent camps, two graves and a biface were found. We also visited and photographed the site of a former RCAF Loran station, code named Yellow Beetle.
We next worked at Kitigaaryuit. We conducted a sample verification of the maps created from survey data taken in 1996; tried to locate onto the maps cultural remains that were missed last year, and identified a number of new remains. We are grateful to Steve Solomon of the Geological Survey of Canada (Dartmouth), who assisted us in assessing the impacts of mass wasting taking place at Kitigaaryuit in relation to cultural features. Steve also provided us with Global Positioning System (GPS) readings of sub-metre accuracy of a number of features that were not recorded last year. He also took readings that would help refine the topography on our maps.
Don Gardner conducted a preliminary study focussing on the feasibility of developing the site for increased visitation, given the fragile nature of many of the cultural remains. With his knowledge of skin boat construction, Don also did a detailed analysis of umiaq and qayaq parts to learn more about the types that are characteristic of this region.
The oral traditions research continued as Cathy Cockney, with the assistance of interpreter Florence Nasogaluak (Tuktoyaktuk), interviewed elders Edgar Kotokak, Gordon Aknaviak and Laura Raymond (all of Tuktoyaktuk). Questions focussed on the different features of the whaling camp at Kitigaaryuit, what the village was like when elders lived or travelled there, and place names and use of the mainland coast that had just been surveyed.
It was noted during the 1996 field season that there were major differences in vegetation between the village area and the graveyards. A preliminary assessment of vegetation identified from site photographs by Martin Raillard (Parks Canada, Inuvik) showed that the differences were largely attributable to cultural factors. We were fortunate in that work on vegetation analysis was continued through the assistance of Alan Fehr and Les Kutny (Aurora Research Centre, Inuvik) who went to Kitigaaryuit in late summer to conduct an inventory of plants found in different parts of the site.
Aulavik National Park, Banks Island
A survey and site monitoring project was implemented along the Thomsen River and north coast of Aulavik National Park, north-central Banks Island by Parks Canada together with the community of Sachs Harbour.
This was the third year of a three-year non-intrusive survey designed to provide a comprehensive inventory and assessment of all sites within the Park boundary–particularly those sites near the Thomsen River. Condition and vulnerability of each site were evaluated; sites were mapped and recorded and recommendations for future actions are being drafted. Other objectives included the establishment of a monitoring program to be implemented by Park Patrols in future years. The monitoring program will allow for annual measurement and comparison of threats imposed by the local environment and by human activity.
Both sides of the Thomsen River were examined on foot starting from an area approximately 25 kilometres south of the confluence of the Muskox and Thomsen rivers where the 1995 survey team left off. Points north of the confluence were surveyed by helicopter.
Approximately 33 previously unrecorded sites were added to the inventory in 1997, a small number of which are probable precontact sites (generally situated near the north coast). Sites recorded were mainly short-term seasonal camp and/or cache sites, likely occupied by Innuinait or Copper Inuit; some were substantial, consisting of over 20 features including tent rings, caches and meat processing areas. At least 12 previously recorded sites were revisited, three of which were revisited in order to establish monitoring programs.
In total, over 262 archaeological sites have been located and recorded in the Park, 111 of which were recorded before the area’s establishment as a national park. Approximately 151 previously unrecorded sites have been added to the inventory since the three-year survey by Parks Canada began in 1994.
Valuable assistance in the field was provided by Park Patrol Persons D. Harry, and trainees J. Elias (Sachs Harbour), M. Ruben Jr. and J. Nakamayuk (Paulatuk). Other crew members included C. Carpenter (Sachs Harbour) and G. Huot (Young Canada Works program student from Quebec). The project was directed by S. Toews with archaeological assistance by P. Downie (Western Canada Service Centre, Parks Canada, Winnipeg).
A proposed development is a small underground gold mine on the southwest shore of Damoti Lake, northwest of Yellowknife. Areas slated for development were examined for sites of archaeological and cultural interest by Brian Ronaghan of Golder Associates, with assistance and advice provided by Jonas Lafferty of Rae. The proposed facilities are a small surface plant, a camp, two access roads, an airstrip, a tailings area, and a source of sand for building on a small island in the lake.
Four small archaeological sites were found on an esker on this island. They consist of scattered remains of flakes of stone from making tools. One site is located on a high ridge with a good view of the lake; two are on the exposed sand of the eskers at the south end of the island, and the fourth is along the west shore of the island. The sites yielded only a few artifacts and all had been disturbed by erosion. Except for two small flakes, all the artifacts found are made of white quartz that occurs commonly in the area.
No sites were found on the mainland where most of the construction will take place; and no sites of importance to local communities were identified. Because of the good supply of fish in the lake and the fact that the caribou herd migrates past the island in early spring, it is not surprising that precontact people favoured the esker island over the mainland.
Richard Kaul of Calgary received permission to conduct a visual search of lakes in the vicinity of Norman Wells to locate three submerged aircraft. The project was cancelled due to lack of funding.