Clarence Lagoon Archaeological Salvage Operation
Natasha Lyons and Sandra Jezik, Parks Canada
Ida Joe and Nellie Arey enjoy looking at a qullit (traditional stone lamp).
© Parks Canada
Inventory and monitoring activities in 1996 and 2000 at Clarence Lagoon (Qainniurvik), in Ivvavik National Park have identified cultural resources and potential impacts to them. A storm surge in 2002 caused unprecedented alteration to the shoreline at Clarence Lagoon and exposed cultural resources at a site at the southern extent of the lagoon. This site contains remains of at least two sod and wood houses and a range of other cultural features. Parks Canada undertook salvage excavations of the two houses at Clarence Lagoon during the summer of 2003 in order to prevent the loss of these cultural resources to continued coastal erosion.
- To collect cultural information from two sod and wood houses, and associated features, at the southern edge of Clarence Lagoon.
Methods and Information Collected
- Salvage excavations of the two house features were undertaken using standard archaeological techniques. Threatened features were located, overlaid with a 2x2 m grid, mapped, and excavated. Artifacts, fauna, and sediment samples were collected during the course of the excavations. Photographs, field notes and video recordings were used to document the excavation.
- The house features were excavated to basal layers, then backfilled to the original approximate grade. The sod was replaced as well as possible.
- The surface around the structures was surveyed for threatened resources, such as additional features and artifacts.
- Two local elders, Ida Joe and Nellie Arey, visited the site midway through the excavations. The history of the site, and their experiences and travels on the Yukon North Slope was documented. This information is currently being transcribed for inclusion in the final report.
Artifacts collected from the sod houses at Clarence Lagoon include both traditional and European material. Significant artifacts recovered from the house closest to the lagoon’s edge include a stone oil lamp, a complete shotgun (identified as a Marlin, 1895, 32-40 calibre), fragments of beaded cloth, book pages, a possible sewing box, and antler door handles. Artifacts found in the house located further from the shore include porthole glass, a toy wood boat, a rifle butt, and a complete antler.
Leslie Burns taking a photo of the excavations.
© Parks Canada
- A preliminary assessment indicates that the houses at the site were probably inhabited prior to the occupation of the nearby Hudson’s Bay post in the 1920s. Ongoing analysis of the artifacts, house architecture, and oral history collected during the course of the project should aid in determining when the site was occupied and by whom, in addition to shedding light on the broader picture of Inuvialuit life on the Yukon North Slope in the early 20th century.
- Western Canada Service Centre, Parks Canada, Winnipeg
- Parks Canada, Inuvik
Inuvik, NT X0E 0T0
Phone: (867) 777-8803
Fax: (867) 777-8820
Cultural Resource Management Unit
Western Canada Service Centre
145 McDermot Ave.
Winnipeg, MB R3B 0R9
Phone: (204) 984-2571
Fax: (204) 984-2240