Excavating sites of ancient settlements
A U of T archeological team and Inuit elders are working together to excavate sites of ancient settlements that could unlock 4,000 years of history in the Canadian Arctic. The 28 sites are spread along two and a half kilometres of the Ekalluk River near the town of Cambridge Bay, Nunavut. An elders group called the Kitikmeot Heritage Society began recording the area’s oral history several years ago and later invited anthropology professor Max Friesen to help with the research and excavations. The whole community is becoming involved in the project, which began last summer. Elders will camp at the sites to discuss their memories and knowledge of the area, and local high-school and college students will do fieldwork with U of T graduate students, excavating and helping record oral histories. Rich with tools, animal bones and building remains, the sites will illuminate the history of the Pre-Dorset, Dorset and Thule peoples from whom modern Inuit are descended.