Five Lakes Archaeology Project

Glen MacKay (NWT Archaeologist’s Permit 2012-008)

The Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre (PWNHC) continued a community archaeology project in partnership with the Jean Marie River First Nation in 2012. The goal of the project was to document cultural values in the Łue Túé Sųlái Candidate Cultural Conservation Area, which is being considered for protection through the NWT Protected Areas Strategy. According to the oral traditions of the people of Jean Marie River, these small fish lakes were important winter harvesting areas, where fish caught through the ice and small game provided important staples for the winter months.

In 2012, archaeologists from the PWNHC visited all five lakes in the Łue Túé Sųlái Candidate Cultural Conservation Area with elders from Jean Marie River, and recorded 14 new archaeological sites. In September, we participated in the community culture camp at Tthets’éhk’e (McGill Lake), and were able to involve students from Henry Ekali school in our work. Most of the archaeological sites recorded this summer consist of precontact lithic scatters. The most significant sites were found at the outlet of Tthets’éhk’e, where we found evidence of multiple precontact occupations. We hope to return to these sites and others in the Łue Túé Sųlái Candidate Cultural Conservation Area in future years to conduct more detailed excavations.

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