Archaeological Investigations at the Pond Site (NiTs‐2)

Charles D Arnold (NWT Archaeologist’s Permit 2007-002)

In summer, 2007 the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre returned to the Pond site (NiTs‐2) on the west shore of Richards Island near the mouth of the East Channel of the Mackenzie River. The site has several clusters of house remains visible as shallow depressions in the ground surface. This area is remembered in Inuvialuit oral histories as one of the winter villages of the Kuukpangmiut.

The Pond site was first investigated by the PWNHC in the late 1980s. Excavations at that time uncovered well‐preserved remains of two driftwood and sod houses. The 2007 excavations had, as one of its objectives, documenting the remains of a third structure by using a mobile laser scanner. The work was undertaken in partnership with researchers from the University of Calgary.

House 3, excavated in 2007, proved to be quite unusual in that it lacked substantial driftwood architecture, and in comparison with other houses at the site the numbers of artefacts and faunal remains were quite low. Three radiocarbon dates indicate this house was built approximately 1500 AD, which is about 200 years later than the two previously excavated dwellings. Ongoing analysis will test the hypothesis that this was a temporary structure occupied before the onset of winter, when more substantial driftwood and sod houses were used. The laser scans of the excavated features will facilitate including the structure as part of an ongoing study into the variability of traditional architecture in the Inuvialuit region.

(Edited by Shelley Crouch, Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre)