Friday, October 29, 2010

Quttinirpaaq Artifacts Arrive!

First Impressions
I love my job!  Just a few minutes ago, Purolator delivered a package to the door containing 4500 year old artifacts from Quttinirpaaq National Park on the tip of Ellesmere Island.  The package wasn't sent from Ellesmere Island (it came from Parks Canada in Winnipeg), but at this time last year these artifacts were on Ellesmere.  At that time, the last people to have seen them would have been the Palaeoeskimo people who made them!   Archaeologists working for Parks Canada surface collected them this summer and they were catalogued and analyzed in Manitoba.  Now, over the next few weeks, I'll be knapping reproductions of all the pieces.

11 Kettle Lake artifacts
These are Independence I artifacts from sites at Kettle Lake, some of the earliest sites in the High Arctic.  The people who made these tools were true Arctic explorers - they travelled from one end of the Arctic archipelago to the other when there was no one around to ask for directions.  Well, maybe not the specific people who made these pieces, but perhaps their parents or grandparents made part of the trip.  The Eastern Arctic was populated very quickly, probably within a few generations.  The Palaeoeskimo people came from the Western Arctic and you don't find a gradual progression of early aged sites from west to east, like you might expect if the Arctic was populated slowly.  Instead, we find some of the earliest sites at the most northerly and easterly points in the Arctic, like Quttinirpaaq National Park, Ellesmere Island.

Tiny, serrated point
Maybe part of the secret to the early Palaeoeskimo pioneers' rapid movement was travelling light.  Check out how tiny these tools are! This will be my first time making Independence I artifact reproductions from a collection like this so I'm eager to get going and start figuring out all those little things that make them unique.

Photo Credits:
1: Lori White
2-3: Tim Rast


  1. Cool.One of these days I'm gonna get a replica norsaq and spear from yah. Looks like exciting work! Seems your getting much more reproduction work this year? good stuff!

  2. Thanks Lee - its been a good run of reproduction work lately. Institutional orders are almost always reproductions, but lately the private commissions and jewelry orders have included reproductions as well, which is nice.

    There are some very cool throwing boards in the Labrador collections at The Rooms - I'd love an excuse to work on them someday.


Related Posts with Thumbnails