Adamie Naulaq Inookie and his father Inookie Adamie at the Qaummaarviit excavation site, of a sod house that belonged to their ancestors. (Meeka Mike/Inuit Heritage Trust) The first summer of archaeological work has wrapped up in Qaummaarviit Territorial Park, near Iqaluit.
The park has 11 sod houses, one of which belonged to Adamie Naulaq Inookie’s ancestors.
He is the fourth generation to live in the area. Both he and his father, Inookie Adamie, visited the site this summer.
Naulaq Inookie is the park’s traditional steward, so he pointed the team overseeing the project to one of the sod houses and with his permission excavation began.
“I never knew that it was my ancestors house there,” he said. “It was the first time these archaeologist people were excavating a [sod] house with a family member in the site.”
Excavation started in late July and wrapped up in October. The first team of four people spent three weeks in July and early August on site, while the second team of eight, spent a week in September and early October. Inookie Naulaq examines a spear head found during this summer’s excavations. (Meeka Mike/Inuit Heritage Trust ) Design dictates excavation plan
The houses are half underground with deep entrances that trap the warm air within the house, according to the government of Nunavut.
Torsten Diesel, the project’s manager with Inuit Heritage Trust said this building structure dictated how the excavation was carried out.
He said there were concerns about how the site would survive spring melt, if water pooled in the doorway, which is lower down the hill than the rest of the house. Torsten Diesel, with Inuit Heritage Trust, is this project’s manager. (David Gunn/CBC) As a result all excavation was completed in that area first and a run-off trench was dug to prevent flooding.
In the entranceway, the teams found an intact harpoon, spear and arrow heads, and a sled runner.
“The overall number of artifacts that we found reaches up into the thousands, but most of that is just little debris of bone or rock that were produced while Inuit back in the day made their real stone tools,” Diesel said.
The artifacts are now in laboratories down south for conservation and analysis.
When the conservation work is completed, they will be displayed at the Museums of History and Nature in Ottawa.
The eventual goal, Diesel says, is that when Nunavut gets its own heritage centre, equipped to properly preserve the artifacts, they will return to the territory. Tourist recreation
The project’s main goal is a full reconstruction of the sod house for tourists.
They’ll be able to explore the skin roofs supported by whale jawbones and ribs and see how snow insulated the homes.
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