Palaeo-Eskimo exploitation of inland chert quarries on southern Baffin Island, Nunavut, Canada


The southern Baffin Island chert sourcing project was initiated in 2007. Eight years of fieldwork and geochemical analysis have allowed us to refine our chert characterization technique and its instrumental application. We have successfully characterized two large chert quarries in the interior of southern Baffin Island using solution ICP-MS trace element analysis. We have also linked chert artifacts from one of these quarries to a nearby Palaeo-Eskimo occupation site, demonstrating transport of quarried material to the site for further reduction, rather than direct exploitation of locally available secondary cobbles. Our present four-year project is now entering its final stage and is focused on applying our refined characterization technique to coastal chert samples from previously investigated Palaeo-Eskimo archaeological sites. With the obtained geochemical signatures, we aim to link the coastal materials to inland quarries to provide another line of evidence to reconstruct and evaluate ancient seasonal land use patterns in this region of the Arctic. Much of the lithic landscape of southern Baffin Island remains undocumented. We expect that some artifacts will fall outside the chemical distribution of known quarries. Future field and laboratory research will be directed at documenting and characterizing as yet unknown sources represented by these artifacts.

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Cite this Record

Palaeo-Eskimo exploitation of inland chert quarries on southern Baffin Island, Nunavut, Canada. Rachel ten Bruggencate, Brooke Milne, Mostafa Fayek, Robert Park, Douglas Stenton. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395615)


Geographic Keywords
North America-Canada

Spatial Coverage

min long: -142.471; min lat: 42.033 ; max long: -47.725; max lat: 74.402 ;