Archaeological Fieldwork Reports for 1998
- Allan Angmarlik, lnuit Heritage Trust, lqaluit, Northwest Territories
- Jean Bussey, Points West Heritage Consulting Ltd., Langley, British Columbia
- Kim Crockatt, Kitikmeot Heritage Society, Cambridge Bay, Northwest Territories
- Brent Cuthbertson, Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, Ontario
- Eric Damkjar, ERD Heritage Consulting, Edmonton, Alberta
- Patricia Fitzpatrick, Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Yellowknife, Northwest Territories
- Max Friesen, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario
- Daniel Gendron, Avataq Cultural Institute, Lachine, Québec
- Elisa Hart, Cochrane, Alberta
- Christopher Hanks, BHP Diamonds, Yellowknife, Northwest Territories
- William Murray Lobb, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta
- John MacDonald, Kitchener, Ontario
- David Morrison, Canadian Museum of Civilization, Hull, Quebec
- Robert W. Park, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario
- Virginia Petch, Northern Lights Heritage Services, Winnipeg, Manitoba
- Brian Ronaghan, Golder Associates Ltd., Calgary, Alberta
- Susan Rowley, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
- Douglas Stenton, Timescapes, lqaluit, Northwest Territories
- Luke Suluk, Nunavut Planning Commission, Arviat, Northwest Territories
- Patricia Sutherland, Northlands Research, Ottawa, Ontario
- Callum Thomson, Jacques Whitford Environmental Consulting Ltd., Calgary, Alberta
- Wendy Unfreed, Fedirchuk, McCullough Associates, Calgary, Alberta
All reports compiled and edited by Margaret Bertulli, Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre
Cambridge Bay DEW Line Station
Defence Construction Canada (DCC) is undertaking an environmental cleanup in the vicinity of the Cambridge Bay DEW Line Station. In order to avoid impact to archaeological sites, a survey of proposed work areas was conducted by Eric Damkjar (ERD Heritage Consulting). Six new sites were recorded and two revisited, all located between the Hamlet of Cambridge Bay and Long Point, 11 km to the west. All of the sites contain stone features, including tent rings, shelters, caches, blinds, and a fox trap. With elevations between about one 0 and 25 metres above sea level, all of the sites appear to be Thule or historic Inuit in cultural association. No excavation was conducted at these sites. Instead, all features within 30 metres of work areas were marked with caution tape so they can be avoided during the cleanup project. The Kitikmeot Heritage Society, based in Cambridge Bay, was instrumental in identifying the sites and ensuring their protection. Much of the value of these sites lies in the fact that they are located close to the community and are easily accessible. They provide a physical link with the past and can be used as teaching tools for future generations.
Ekalluk River, Victoria Island
The Kitikmeot Heritage Society conducted oral history research along the Ekalluk River, which is approximately 50 km west of Cambridge Bay. This project was developed on the recommendations of the Kitikmeot Heritage Society’s Board of Directors, composed mainly of elders from the community. The research was conducted by Kim Crockatt, David F. Pelly, Martha Angulalik, James Panioyak and Eric Damkjar. It centred on interviews with elders Frank Analok, Mabel Angulalik and Marjorie Taptoona who had either grown up in the Ekalluktuuk area or had personal knowledge of the site. This particular site was chosen for a number of reasons. Having previously conducted oral history and archaeological research within the boundaries of the Mount Pelly Territorial Park, the group had only a very small piece of the historical picture of traditional land use in this part of Victoria Island. The elders felt that the Ekalluk River was a very important part of this picture since Inuit had used it for thousands of years. It was also a place where many lnuit families gathered to hunt and fish in the fall. Elder Frank Analok said that he remembers, as a very young boy, tents lining the banks of the river. The second reason was that based on the elders’ testimony and previous research conducted by Dr. William E. Taylor, the site is considered significant enough to warrant its protection. The project centred on the elders’ testimony in regard to a caribou drive and a series of hunting pits. The elders said that they had never seen such a large drive and they felt that it must have taken many people to attend it. They described in detail how Inuit would build the inuksuit to resemble a human form by using clods of dirt and loose soil. Triangular-shaped flaps of sealskin were added to resemble waving arms. These very small inuksuit, which line the drive for kilometres, are still prominent across the landscape. Enough preliminary data were gathered to begin the development of long-range plans in regard to this area and the area between the Ekalluk and east to Mount Pelly Territorial Park. The Kitikmeot Heritage Society is currently planning fieldwork for next summer, which will involve continuing with the oral history and archaeological research at the Ekalluk site and visits to a number of additional sites along the shores of Ferguson Lake.
Cape Adelaide Regina, Boothia Peninsula
The main objective of this project was to rediscover James Clark Ross’s cairn marking his location of the North Magnetic Pole in 1831. The team also investigated the theory that Sir John Franklin may have been buried on t
he Boothia coast near Ross’s cairn. The original plan had been to navigate the western Boothia coast from Taloyoak to Cape Adelaide then hike north to Pasley Bay. Ice conditions prevented the supply boats from proceeding any further north than Cape Adelaide, and so only the areas around Cape Adelaide Regina and Oscar Bay north of Matty Island were intensively surveyed. Fifty sites were recorded, including tent rings, cairns, caches, burials, stone traps and an abandoned twentieth century trading post. Most of the tent rings were of modern or historic lnuit, although numerous precontact sites were also encountered. A cairn near the locational description of Ross’s cairn was found and it is assumed to be the one made by Ross in 1831 at the site of the North Magnetic Pole although it may have been altered over the years. No evidence of the lost expedition of Sir John Franklin or his crew members was found in the search. The team consisted of Abel Aqqaq and Tommy Totalik from Taloyoak, Doug Stern from Cambridge Bay, Ron Rust from Washington, DC, John Harrington from Mississauga, Ontario and John MacDonald from Kitchener, Ontario.
Peterhead Inlet, Frobisher Bay
Tungatsivvik (KkDo-3) is a large Thule site located about seven kilometres west of lqaluit, along the east shore of Peterhead Inlet. It was reported in 1984 by lnuit residents of lqaluit and a preliminary assessment was made by Douglas Stenton in August of that year. Excavations were carried out at the site in 1990, 1991, 1992, and 1994, focusing on training for college students but also recovering over 3000 artifacts and many thousands of animal bones. The 1998 excavations at Tungatsivvik were conducted under the direction of Robert Park (University of Waterloo). Douglas Stenton used his summer vacation to assist with the excavations and Conservator Tara Grant (Canadian Conservation Institute) was responsible for all matters related to artifact conservation. Students for the University of Waterloo, Trent University and Nunavut Arctic College took part in the excavation of one of the 19 Thule winter houses at the site. The long-term goal of this research is to compare the Thule occupations at this large site with those at the nearby but much smaller Thule site on Davidson Point, excavated by Park in 1996 and 1997.
Southern Hudson Strait, Nunavik
The department of Archaeology of the Avataq Cultural Institute carried out its Petroglyph Project in the Kangirsujuaq region for the third year. The Project was divided into three parts. The first part was the continued work at the Qajartalik petroglyph site located on Qikertaaluk. The second part concentrated on the excavation and extensive sampling of five Early Palaeo-Eskimo sites also located on Qikertaaluk. Finally, the third part focused on a preliminary survey of Aivirtuuq and Ukuvik Island in Whitley Bay, and the coastal sector around Qanartalik (Douglas Harbour) and Tasialujjuap Kuunga. The field crew was composed of Daniel Gendron, Daniel Arsenault, and Louis Gagnon for the work at the petroglyph site. The excavation and extensive sampling team was under the supervision of Claude Pinard, assisted by Luc Litwinionek and Leila Inksetter. They were accompanied by four Inuit students from Kangirsujuaq. The survey was conducted by the latter team with two lnuit students and two Inuit guides, including an Elder. The continued work at the petroglyph site focused once more on the identification and recording of the engravings. A dozen new faces were identified this year bringing the total number of engravings to 175. In addition, the crew began identifying the Dorset quarrying zones on the two major outcrops. Over 200 such zones were observed. It is interesting to note that these zones have been exploited during the period of production of the engravings as illustrated by the superposition of these extraction zones with some engravings. In several cases, the extracted block has obliterated portions of the engravings, and, conversely, some petroglyphs have been engraved after an area had been used for extraction purposes. In addition, the partial excavation of the surface of Block A yielded seven large metabasalt choppers that were most likely used to prepare or rough out the extraction zones. These choppers were associated with thousands of soapstone waste flakes with percussion marks. Other tool categories (i.e., side scraper, burin-like implements, etc.) have yet to be identified at the site, but their use is suggested by the working marks observed in the extraction zones. A small lamp preform, oval in shape, was also retrieved from the site a few metres from Block A. Its shape and size are reminiscent of the Late Dorset period. This discovery is important because it would support the presumed production period of the petroglyphs. Finally, the survey work on Aivirtuuq resulted in the recording of three new sites, one of which appears to be a butchering site where large whale, walrus, seal and caribou bones were processed. The artifacts associated with these faunal remains tend to place the site at the end of the 19th or at the beginning of the 20th century. Five new sites were discovered on Ukuvik: three early Palaeo-Eskimo and two Dorset sites. One of the latter is a winter site with shallow semi-subterranean dwellings. The survey around Qanartalik and Tasialujjuap Kuunga yielded 60 new sites representing the cultural period from early Palaeo-Eskimo to historical times. In Tasialujjuap Kuunga, a Thule site with eight large semisubterranean dwellings was identified. The project should continue next summer with the petroglyph site once more as its primary focus, but special attention will be given to the Dorset habitation sites in order to complement the information collected at the Qajartalik petroglyph site.
Urgent archaeological fieldwork was undertaken in Igloolik. The purpose of this work was twofold: salvage and preservation. Salvage work was required on several sites inadvertently damaged when a road was constructed from a quarry location to the airport runway. Preservation work involved identifying sites near this year’s resurfacing of the runway and marking sites to ensure that they would not be destroyed. This work was conducted under contract with the NWT Department of Transport and with the assistance of the Nunavut Research Institute. All fieldwork was undertaken by Susan Rowley, Pittsburgh and Lucy MacDonald, lgloolik. The first job was to ensure that no sites were damaged during the planned resurfacing of the runway. Sites on the eastern edge of the runway were of particular concern. The crew surveyed both sides of the runway to ensure that no sites had previously been missed. Fluorescent red lines were then spray painted on the leading edges of the sites. In addition, all sites were pointed out to construction personnel and assurances were secured that trucks would not drive off the eastern edge of the runway but stay on the runway. The present runway and quarry are located at an elevation from 30-50 m above sea level, and all sites investigated were Pre-Dorset. Four sites were mapped, four partially bulldozed dwelling features were excavated and five completely bulldozed features were examined. This work confirmed earlier impressions of the diversity, in both size and architecture, of Pre-Dorset dwellings on the island. In the past, Dr. Rowley has excavated only three Pre-Dorset soapstone lamps from sites on the island. All were of the typical Pre-Dorset shallow, oval form. One example of this type was surface collected this summer from NiHf-90. During the excavation of NiHf-90 Feature 1, a large dwelling, a new form of lamp was recovered. These lamps appear to be semi-lunar in form with an extremely thin, flat base and a straight wick edge. They look like small, much thinner versions of classic Inuit alliq (the small lamps used to provide light rather than heat in dwellings). Fragments of six or seven of these lamps were recovered from this one feature. Future development plans call for the lengthening of the runway to accommodate jet service. When this occurs, several more Pre-Dorset sites on the island will be excavated further adding to our knowledge of this time period.
Douglas Stenton (Timescapes, lqaluit) identified and conducted a preliminary assessment of a Pre-Dorset component at the Crystal II site (KkDn-l) near lqaluit. The site consists of a small surface scatter of lithic tools and debitage approximately 50 metres north of Crystal II. The collection includes fragments of a chert core, scrapers and a burin, which have been provisionally assigned to the Pre-Dorset period. Because the materials were on the surface and in an area used intensively by lqaluit residents for recreational purposes, a permit was issued to collect the specimens to prevent their loss or damage, and to conduct a site assessment.
Allan Angmarlik of Inuit Heritage Trust, along with Simo Alookie, Joshua Alookie, David Kooneeliusie visited Aksagajuktuq in search of a shipwreck believed to be of Norse origin. The goal of the expedition was to locate the shipwreck using the two landmarks told to them by elders. The team found two prominent landmarks told to them by elders but were not successful in locating the actual shipwreck. The prow was last seen in 1942 by lnuit elders from Padloping Island. It is believed that the ship may be fully embedded by rock boulders. The team will attempt to locate the wreck again next summer.
Patricia Sutherland, Canadian Museum of Civilization carried out an excavation at the M2 site (QeJu-2) atResolute Bay, with the assistance of a number of students from the community. The work was a continuation of a field school project begun in 1994 by the Canadian Museum of Civilization. Excavation focused on one small winter house structure, relating to the early Inuit occupation of the area. The work was supported by the Polar Continental Shelf Project and the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre.
Kennedy Channel, Ellesmere Island
A helicopter reconnaissance was also carried out along the coastline of Kennedy Channel between Cape Baird and John Richardson Bay by Patricia Sutherland, Canadian Museum of Civilization and Margaret Bertulli, Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre. Before 1998, this area of Ellesmere Island had never been subject to archaeological investigation. Sixty-eight site localities were recorded, relating to both Palaeo-Eskimo and Thule lnuit occupations. The work was supported by the Polar Continental Shelf Project and the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre.
At the request of Monopros Limited, a diamond exploration firm associated with De Beers and based in Yellowknife, a preliminary survey and assessment were conducted at Kennady Lake, 120 km northeast of Lutselk’e. The locations investigated included areas proposed for ground disturbance during the winter of 1998-99, involving excavation of construction materials from an esker, and use of winter roads to haul material from the esker to a tailings pond construction site. The main objective of the project was to identity sites and advise Monopros on how best to avoid them. The investigation was done by Callum Thomson, Jacques Whitford Environment Limited, and Ramona Sanderson, a field assistant from Lutselk’e. Six new precontact sites were found. One is located on the esker, three are near the esker and the winter road on sandy terraces, and two are on old beach terraces beside Kennady Lake. It was concluded that precontact sites in the vicinity of Kennady Lake will most often be found associated with a lake and an esker or other feature such as an old beach terrace where game can be observed; well-drained, level ground is available for camping; water is in close proximity for travel and consumption; and resources such as caribou, fish and ducks can be obtained. Eight precontact sites are now known from this area. Each of the new sites was marked for clear identification and avoidance by construction crews, and these and additional areas of archaeological potential were identified on maps. Artifacts such as stone spear points, knives, and hide scrapers were photographed and left in place. It was also recommended that additional investigations be conducted at the six sites found in 1998, and that a broader survey be conducted to identity any other sites in the region. This will allow more accurate prediction of site types and locations. Any further work would benefit from more intensive participation by representatives of local communities who use the land, have knowledge of the resources and seasons of availability, and who can interpret site use and advise on how future investigations should be conducted. The conclusion of this survey and assessment of activities proposed by Monopros for the winter of 1998-99 are that the known sites are unlikely to be disturbed by the planned development.
West Coast of Hudson Bay
The Nunavut Planning Commission (NPC) was established under the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement. It works with governments to establish broad planning policies, objectives and goals for land use in the Nunavut Settlement Area. The NPC is responsible for developing land use plans that guide resource use and development in Nunavut. Regional Mapping Coordinators are presently working to collect information on general land use activities, cleanup sites, archaeological sites, development activities, and wildlife habitat and harvest. As part of this work, the NPC is mapping archaeological sites, to study how they relate to human occupation and the pursuit of wildlife in the past, and to compare them to today’s situation. Valuable information can be obtained from studying archaeological sites, by determining the time when the features were made and the conditions that existed then. Luke Suluk, the Keewatin Mapping Coordinator, spent the summer months mapping archaeological sites, cleanup sites, cabins and making observations along the west coast of Hudson Bay. One area covered was from the Manitoba/Northwest Territories border to the Sandy Point area north of Arviat. Another area covered was Arviat to Maguse Lake along the main esker. Here a gravel road is being built through many archaeological sites following the traditional foot trail that is now an ATV trail to the lake. About 300 sites were recorded. An elder guided and helped to distinguish old sites on some of these trips. Video recordings were made at some sites to explain the history and the use of certain features. lnuit in the Keewatin communities continue to use the west coast of Hudson Bay to hunt and for trade with Churchill, Manitoba. Today faster boats and snowmobiles have replaced the dog teams and qayaq.
North of Lac de Gras I
Jean Bussey, Points West Heritage Consulting Limited of Langley, BC, directed archaeological investigations for BHP Diamonds Inc. in its claim block north of Lac de Gras. Tours of a representative sample of the previously recorded sites were first conducted. During the first tour with Dogrib elder, Edward Camille, and his interpreter, Francis Blackduck, two traditional use sites were identified, one on the north shore of Lac de Gras and a second site located one day’s travel to the north. Two new sites were also recorded during this tour. The second tour involved a Yellowknife elder, Jonas Fishbone, and his interpreter, Alfred Baillargeon. The third tour was to familiarize Margaret Bertulli of the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre with the work that had been conducted during the five years of this project. During this tour, another new archaeological site was recorded. Assisted by Gabriella Prager of Points West, additional survey was also undertaken within the BHP claim block. In addition to survey in the vicinity of the development and exploration areas, shorelines of several lakes including a portion of Lac de Gras, were traversed. Fred Marlowe representing the Dogrib Treaty 11 Council and Kevin Rabesca of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation were involved in this work. One traditional use site reported to BHP by the Yellowknives Dene Land and Environment Committee was relocated and several additional sites were discovered. This brings the total of recorded sites within the BHP claim block to 128. Three of the four traditional use sites are associated with Lac de Gras; the fourth is on a large unnamed lake southwest of Exeter Lake. The ten sites found in 1998 consist of small to large lithic scatters, some of which contained tools. All are located on elevated, well-drained landforms and most are associated with well defined eskers. In addition, two previously recorded sites, LeNt-14 and LeNt-17, were tested to determine the extent of cultural deposits. Excavations initiated at LdNs-18 in 1997 were completed this season. Selected surface artifacts from a fourth site were collected because they are representative of the Arctic Small Tool Tradition and were threatened by erosion. Analysis of all collected artifacts will be undertaken during the winter.
North of Lac de Gras II
Chris Hanks of BHP Diamonds Inc., Yellowknife conducted a preliminary survey along the proposed route of the Pigeon haul road. The route extends northeast for approximately 2 kilometres from the Long Lake road to the Pigeon Kimberlite Pipe at Ekati Mine north of Lac de Gras. Moving from the Long Lake road, the Pigeon route skirts a low hill through a sporadic boulder field vegetated with shrubby birch tundra and then drops across a small headwater stream that flows under a dense unvegetated boulder field before arriving at the kimberlite pipe. Based on the proximity of the road to the traditional Lac de Gras / Long Lake / Exeter Lake canoe and sled route of the Dogrib and Inuit, it was believed that the hill at the Long Lake end of the road had potential as a game lookout. The hill was examined for the remains of hunting stands and rock meat caches but no remains were located. Subsurface testing was not undertaken as the dense rocky soil made it unlikely that there were any buried remains. Further, the road is constructed of a rock fill placed on the surface and any remains would have simply been buried more deeply and left undisturbed. The preliminary survey was followed up by Points West Heritage Consulting Ltd. which performed an assessment of the Pigeon Kimberlite Pipe for BHP Diamonds Inc.
WMC International Limited is proposing an advanced exploration program at the Meliadine West Gold Project, which is approximately 30 km northwest of Rankin Inlet. An archaeological survey and impact assessment was conducted by Elisa Hart of Cochrane, Alberta with the assistance of Andrew Alikashuak, Dustin Fredlund and Andy Tugak, all of Rankin Inlet. A number of features were found in the proposed development areas. A boulder cache, an overnight camping structure (siniktarvik), a lookout/windbreak and a recent tent ring were found on a ridge approximately 1.7 km inland from Meliadine Lake. A recent tent ring and possible qayaq stand were found on an esker slope near Meliadine Lake and a recent tent ring and hearth were found on an island in the lake. Impact management related to several of these features was also conducted. Before beginning fieldwork, the archaeology project was discussed at a meeting of the Elders Steering Committee which advises WMC International Limited on its traditional knowledge study. The Committee recommended the participation of elder, Moses Aliyak who provided much interesting and useful information about how people used this area and the function of many of the archaeological features. Theresie Tungilik was the interpreter.
Lac de Gras
Wendy Unfreed and Michael Turney, Fedirchuk McCullough & Associates Ltd. of Calgary, assisted by Jonas Baillargeon of Dettah, Wally Desjarlais of Lutselk’e and Bobby Drybones of Rae, conducted investigations at a selection of sites located within the proposed Diavik Diamond Mine area, on a small island near the eastern shore of Lac de Gras. The study consisted of mapping and surface collection of 24 quarry sites and artifact scatters located throughout the island. The quarry sites, characterized by outcropped bedrock quartz veins, were found to cluster in areas of high relief, often near inland lake edges. Artifacts associated with the quarry sites were dominated by debitage scatters, much of which was quartz shatter. Artifact scatters were found in a greater variety of locales, but were also often associated with high bedrock outcrops, or on terraces near the shorelines of lakes or along eskers. Although debitage was also a dominant artifact type associated with these sites, cores and bifaces were also identified in the assemblages. In addition to the mapping and surface collection, excavation occurred at site LcNs-132, a Pre-Dorset campsite located in an eroded sand area in a protected bay on the eastern mainland shore of Lac de Gras. Surface collection and ten square metres of excavation within the site area revealed the presence of artifacts of basalt, quartz and chert. The assemblage was dominated by bifacial thinning flakes of both chert and basalt. Formed tools were primarily of chert, and included scrapers and scraper fragments, bifaces and one basally concave projectile point. From the distribution of the cultural materials and the occurrence of clusters of fire-broken rock, it is thought that this site represents a single occupation with a very tight activity cluster. Visits to a number of the key sites, including stone feature LcNs-25 (a possible burial), campsite LcNs-132, and quarry LcNs-23 and artifact scatter LcNs-24 were made by members of the Yellowknivese Dene First Nation Land and Environment Committee. This provided an opportunity for discussions about early lifestyles and protocols involved in the investigation of these sites.
Slave Geological Province
A two-week helicopter survey was undertaken on the tundra in the Slave Geological Province, a large area north of the East Arm of Great Slave Lake and east of Great Bear Lake. Forty-seven sites were visited in an area bounded by Contwoyto Lake to the Arctic Ocean and from Bathurst Inlet to the Tree River. These included eleven previously unrecorded sites in the northern area of study. All of the sites proved to be former habitations. They were photographed, recorded and digitally mapped. The purpose of this study was to determine if there is a relationship between archaeological sites and physical features, namely eskers on the inland tundra. The site information had been previously gathered through an ongoing Traditional Knowledge Study by the Nunavut Planning Commission and from the Archaeological Survey of Canada. The project was carried out by Patricia Fitzpatrick, in conjunction with the Esker Habitat Project funded by the West Kitikmeot Slave Study Society, with additional support from the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development.
This project was an attempt to make a more complete inventory of the cultural sites along the Back River from Aylmer Lake to Chantrey Inlet. During a 54-day canoe trip, a research team of six people from Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, Ontario investigated known sites, surveyed for undocumented ones, and recorded the features and conditions of each site along the way. It has been decades since some of the major sites had been initially recorded. Using the information of previous research projects (most were in the early 1970s), the crew documented the addition of tent rings and other features in order to update the cultural picture of each site. In most of the well-known sites, evidence of use after the 1970s was noted. It is interesting that the newer features did not differ significantly in the way they were constructed from the older ones, meaning that these camps were possibly occupied after the 1970s. Information about a number of previously undocumented sites along the river corridor will be submitted to the Canadian Museum of Civilization and sent to the communities of Baker Lake and Gjoa Haven. Much of the river corridor could not be investigated due to limitations of time, and in some cases, weather. The inventory can grow and take on an historical perspective of how land is used by people of the region.
Virginia Petch (Northern Lights Heritage Services, Winnipeg, Manitoba) and her crew consisting of Ernie Bussidor (Tadoule Lake), Joe Thorassie (Tadoule Lake), Alphonse Denechese (Lac Brocher) and Joe Arloo (Arviat) conducted a seven-day survey for evidence of Dene occupations in the Southern Keewatin. The first stop was at Longpre Lake where, according to Dene legend, the last battle between the Cree and Dene took place. The crew did not find the battleground but did find an old grave, a campfire with many quartz flakes and two tent pole sites. No collections were made. On Mountain Lake they found three new sites and visited many of those found by another archaeologist named Ronald Nash thirty years ago. They found a campsite of six tents, an isolated artifact and the remains of a birch bark canoe. The canoe was buried in the moss. Apparently, when birch bark canoes were not in use they were packed in moss so that they would not dry out and split. The crew was not able to get to Hawk Hill Lake because the wind was too strong so they headed for Windy Lake for the rest of the expedition. At Windy Lake six new sites were identified. Five are precontact sites. The most significant was a large Dene settlement on a peninsula. Here 18 features were recorded including six graves, eight tents, a birch bark canoe buried in the moss similar to that at Mountain Lake, drying racks, a flint knapping station, a dog tether pole and the remains of an 1893 harmonica. A small site was found at Nueltin Lake just north of Treeline Lodge’s outpost where one of the Dene Elders remembered his grandfather hunting. Charlie Schweder had trapped in this area during the 1940s. He saved two Inuit children from starvation in 1946.
South Amundsen Gulf
Archaeological excavation was undertaken at the Tiktalik site (NkRi-3), located near Pearce Point on the southern coast of Amundsen Gulf by David Morrison (Canadian Museum of Civilization) and crew (Claire Alix, Rita Carpenter, Bennett Felix, and Ken Swayze). Tiktalik is a five-house Thule Inuit village, first reported in 1989 by William E. Taylor. Previous fieldwork in 1998 resulted in the nearly complete excavation of one house. It proved to be a small, rectangular structure with a planked wooden floor set about 70 cm below present ground level. Walls were made of adzed wooden planks, with a roof supported by interior posts. The house had a long entrance tunnel and, perhaps most strikingly, a separate kitchen where cooking took place over an open fire. This kitchen appears to have been a conical shape, with pole walls and a floor paved with boards and flagstones. The site is named for a Sachs Harbour elder, Susie Tiktalik, now deceased. Artifacts recovered from Tiktalik suggest an early occupation date, perhaps in or near the 12th century A.D. Many of the artifacts suggest that the site’s inhabitants were relatively recent immigrants from northwestern Alaska. Radiocarbon dating and detailed artifact comparisons with other sites in the Amundsen Gulf area (such as Nelson River) and further afield (the Ruin Island sites on eastern Ellesmere Island) should help archaeologists better understand how, when, and why early Inuit first came to the Canadian Arctic.
East Channel of the Mackenzie River
The lnuvialuit Social Development Program (ISDP) conducted an oral history and archaeology project at a former Royal Canadian Air Force and United States Air Force Loran navigation station. The station, code named Yellow Beetle, was also referred to as Kittigazuit. It was located on the east channel of the Mackenzie River about 12 km west along the coast from the old village of Kitigaaryuit (listed on topographic maps as Kittigazuit). Construction started in 1947 and the Loran system operated from 1948 to 1950. Funding from the Department of National Defence (DND) was provided to ISDP to document the experiences of the lnuvialuit who worked at the station and to obtain a collection of artifacts that could be used in an exhibit on its history. Cathy Cockney (Inuvik, NWT) of ISDP conducted interviews with a number of elders and it was interesting to hear them recount the time they lived and worked there. Archaeologist, Elisa Hart (Cochrane, Alberta) collected a number of artifacts and documented some of the ruins. ISDP had conducted archival research on the station before obtaining funding from DND. Information from the elders, from a former meteorological technician who worked there, and the archival documents will be used to write a report on the history of the station.
Cache Point, Mackenzie Delta
The Cache Point site, located on the East Channel of the Mackenzie River, is the earliest lnuvialuit beluga whale-hunting site known from the region. It is a large site, containing a minimum of 22 driftwood-and-sod houses, as well as many artifacts and beluga whalebones eroding from the bluff edge. Max Friesen, University of Toronto, and a crew of six students from Tuktoyaktuk and Toronto excavated two houses at the site as part of the Qilalugaq Archaeology project. Excavation of the best-preserved house revealed a deep and long entrance tunnel, a single main room with a sleeping bench located along its side, and a separate kitchen area in front of the house. Many artifacts were recovered, including harpoon heads, ulus, and fishing equipment. In addition, a number of tools made of soapstone and copper were found, which must have been traded from the Coppermine River area to the east. Many animal bones were also recovered, mostly from beluga whales confirming that the ancient hunters of the Cache point site relied on beluga for most of their food. An unexpected surprise was the presence of several earlier Palaeo-Eskimo stone tools, which closely match similar Alaskan tools perhaps as much as 4000 years old. The information obtained from this project will help us to understand how the earliest lnuvialuit in the Mackenzie Delta lived, and what methods they used to hunt beluga whales in the distant past.
Jean Bussey, Points West Heritage Consulting Limited of Langley, BC, directed investigations for Winspear Resources Ltd. near Snap Lake, approximately 200 km northeast of Yellowknife. A preliminary assessment of the project area was undertaken and it was recommended that field investigations be conducted if any development activity was required to the east or south of Snap Lake in the vicinity of a number of eskers and similar landforms. Late in September, the project engineer identified two possible gravel sources one on an esker-like remnant, and the other on a portion of a large, well defined esker. The potential for locating archaeological sites was sufficient to require an inventory and impact assessment of both locations. Because of an urgent need for the gravel this year, fieldwork was attempted in early October, but due to the sudden arrival of winter, it was not possible to complete the assessment.
North of Fort Liard
Ranger Oil Limited will apply for permission to construct a 30-km pipeline to link a well north of Fort Liard on the west side of the Liard River with the existing pipeline north of Fisherman Lake. Areas proposed for development were examined for sites of archaeological and cultural interest by Brian Ronaghan of Golder Associates, with assistance and advice from Frankie Klondike of Fort Liard and Brian Ekotla of Nahanni Butte. The areas examined were the preferred pipeline route, two alternate routes, and two alternate locations for a small plant to remove liquids from gas. The proposed pipeline would parallel the base of the Mackenzie Mountains, then cross the first range before descending into the stream valley that feeds Fisherman Lake. Although many archaeological and historical sites are known to occur along the shores of Fisherman Lake, none of these will be affected by the project because construction ends well north of the lake. The routes examined occur in very dense forest and pass over several deeply cut mountain stream valleys. No archaeological sites were found, but one hunting camp used in the 1980s by Frankie Klondike’s uncle, Johnny Klondike Jr., was recorded nearby the pipeline route. This site will be avoided by construction. If approved, the pipeline will follow existing cutlines where possible and will be constructed during the winter, so, below snow cover, only a one-metre wide trench to hold the pipe will be excavated. Information provided by community advisors indicate that most traditional uses to this area took place along the Liard River or at Fisherman Lake and that there is little chance that important sites or areas will be affected by this project.
Hay River Area
A reconnaissance survey was conducted by William Murray Lobb, University of Calgary along the Hay River for archaeological sites belonging to the indigenous peoples of the area, the Slavey. This group or early ancestors of this group are known archaeologically to have been in this area for 4,000 years. In addition, several places were selected as potential archaeological sites from aerial photos in which visible cues were observed in aerial photos dating from 1948 to 1994. This fieldwork and aerial photo interpretation will be used in an undergraduate thesis to be completed in May of 1999. The groundwork for this exercise was completed in both Calgary, Alberta and Hay River. Air photos were obtained through the Library of the University of Calgary and through the territorial government department of Resources, Wildlife, and Economic Development in Hay River. The air photos were examined intensively for cues such as natural clearings, pathways, and differential tree growth which might denote a fishery or encampment. Also, any oddities that were continually observed in the aerial photos were selected as possibilities to consider for later ground survey. Thirteen possible locations were identified for preliminary investigation in the Hay River and surrounding area. Eight kilometres of the Hay River from the east arm to the main river were surveyed and three sites were discovered. These sites were then compared to early aerial photos and their visual properties noted for later photo interpretation. The majority of this work was completed with the help of volunteer family members that are long-time residents of Hay River. Kylie Lobb was a pivotal part of these surveys as she helped with mapping, photography, vegetation identification, and the visual reconnaissance. The cutbank survey was competed with the help of Garry Dean Lobb and the use of his boat. Garry Dean also aided in plant identification, photography, mapping, and especially with visual reconnaissance. A fourth possible site was located during a secondary search while doing a survey of a natural clearing of trees observed in the aerial photographs near the Hay River VOR radar site near the airport. Though no features were observed at the natural clearing, a survey was completed of the nearby clearing created for the VOR radar site nearest to the Hay River. This site has a pathway that has been used by vehicles and various off-road sport vehicles. On this road and its surrounding grasses, apparent circles of rocks, which could be tipi ring features, were discovered and recorded. This fieldwork is important as it is the first to be undertaken in Hay River in over ten years. But it is also important for local groups and the community as a whole to understand the area’s cultural resources and what archaeology can mean to the community. The other side of this project is to find better visual cues to help archaeologists understand the subarctic living environment.