Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Tracking Elfshot Artifact Reproductions, Part 2

Harpoon heads
In an earlier post, I showed a set of artifact reproductions that I was commissioned to make by a design and fabrication company in British Columbia for installation in Nunavut.  The client was the Kitikmeot Heritage Society in Cambridge Bay.  You may recall that Cambridge Bay was in the news last summer because Google was doing street view mapping of the community using a tricked out tricycle with a Google camera mounted on top.

Harpoon heads and art on display in Cambridge Bay
While they were in town, Google did some interior mapping as well, including the inside of the May Hakongak Community Library and Cultural Centre, where there are several exhibit spaces showcasing local history and artifacts.  Many of these artifacts are on loan from the Canadian Museum of Civilization or the Prince of Wales Heritage Centre, but a handful are reproductions that I made in 2011. For example, you can see the harpoon heads in the top photo in the display case in the photo on the left.  Its an interesting tour - especially if you go upstairs and see the kayak and cases full of artifacts.

In this case, I made the whip and the dog muzzle sitting in the lower right foreground.

Photo Credits:
1) Screen capture from 3DS Kitikmeot Portfolio


  1. When were copper rivets first used in construction if Inuit arrow heads?

    1. That's a really good question. I don't know of the oldest dated arrowhead with a copper rivet, but if I had to guess, I'd say somewhere around 1000 years ago. The Thule ancestors of the Inuit were a metal using culture from the time they moved into the Eastern Arctic from Alaska around 800 years ago. Native copper was been cold hammered in Alaska by at least 1000 years ago. Its possible that the prospect of metal trade with the Norse and meteoric Iron in Greenland was one of the big draws for the migration eastward. The Thule brought arrows, metal, and rivet technology with them, although I can't say for certain that the specific combination of copper rivets in arrowheads was in that early toolkit. However, copper used as fasteners predate even the Thule in the Eastern Arctic. For my honours thesis at the University of Calgary in the mid-1990s, I did a metal detector survey on a few Late Dorset sites (1500-1000 BP) on Little Cornwallis Island. Among other copper and iron artifacts, we found copper staples that appear to have been used to repair antler boxes or soapstone pots.


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