Foxy Ladies: investigating human-animal interactions at Agvik, Banks Island

Author(s): Rebecca Goodwin; Lisa Hodgetts

Year: 2017


Outstanding organic preservation at many Arctic sites gives archaeologists access to large artifactual and faunal assemblages through which to examine human-animal interactions. However, much of the research focused on these interactions conceives them not only in ecological/economic terms, but also examines them at the level of entire communities (e.g. zooarchaeological studies of subsistence) or focuses on the predominantly male realm of hunting. The Arctic ethnographic record reflects a strongly gendered division of labour. We therefore suggest that at least some elements of human social interactions with non-human animals were strongly gendered as well. In a case study from a 500-year-old Inuit dwelling at Agvik (OkRn-1) on Banks Island, we examine the material evidence for the ways in which women and men engaged with a range of animal species in their daily lives. One dwelling at Agvik contains a number of unusual features suggesting that the preparation of fox skins was an important activity at the site. Over 90 slate uluit (women’s knifes) were recovered in addition to a possible symbolic cluster of fox crania. We go on to consider the implications for human social relationships with these animals.

Cite this Record

Foxy Ladies: investigating human-animal interactions at Agvik, Banks Island. Rebecca Goodwin, Lisa Hodgetts. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429568)


Geographic Keywords
North America-Canada

Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 17453