The Iqaluktuuq Project is a long term study of the cultural history of the Iqaluktuuq area near Cambridge Bay, Nunavut. This area is rich with archaeological deposits that tell the story of almost 5000 years of cultures occupying the region.
Iqaluktuuq, meaning “place of many fish ”, is a short stretch of the Ekalluk River near Cambridge Bay. Modern elders recall it as a very important place for char fishing, and in past years caribou were hunted here in large numbers.
In 1999, the Kitikmeot Heritage Society decided that Iqaluktuuq should be studied by an archaeologist. They contacted Dr. Max Friesen, an archaeologist at the University of Toronto, and since then annual summer field camps have brought together elders, youth, and archaeologists to record and collect important information, and also to provide Inuinnaqtun immersion opportunities for youth. The combination of traditional knowledge and archaeology has revealed that Iqaluktuuq is one of the most important archaeological areas in Nunavut. The Iqaluktuuq Project combines the best of community-based research and a careful academic approach to an important group of archaeological sites.
The Iqaluktuuq Project has also produced many academic publications that record the history of Inuit people and their earlier ancestors. These include:
- The Impact of Weapon Technology on Caribou Drive System Variability in the Prehistoric Canadian Arctic by Max Friesen
- Dynamic Inuit Social Strategies in Changing Environments: A Long-Term Perspective by Max Friesen
- The Last Supper: Late Dorset Economic Change at Iqaluktuuq, Victoria Island by Max Friesen
- Hearth rows, hierarchies and Arctic hunter-gatherers: the construction of equality in the Late Dorset period by Max Friesen
- Contemporaneity of Dorset and Thule Cultures in the North American Arctic: New Radiocarbon Dates from Victoria Island, Nunavut by Max Friesen
- Analogues at Iqaluktuuq: the social context of archaeological inference in Nunavut, Arctic Canada by Max Friesen
- Thule Fishing Revisited: The Economic Importance of Fish at the Pembroke and Bell Sites, Victoria Island, Nunavut by Lauren Norman and Max Friesen
- A Late Dorset semi-subterranean structure from the Bell Site (NiNg-2), Ekalluk River, Victoria Island by Karen Ryan
- Late Dorset Caribou Hunters: Zooarchaeology of the Bell Site, Victoria Island by Lesley Howse
Funding for the Iqaluktuuq Project was provided by the Nunavut Department of Culture and Heritage, the Polar Continental Shelf Project, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.