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THE EARLIEST ART IN
THE KITIKMEOT

THE EARLIEST ART IN THE KITIKMEOT

At a 3,000-year-old-site northwest of Cambridge Bay, the PI/KHS investigated an ancient camp where hunters waited for caribou to swim across a narrow inlet of the ocean.

 

As part of our project, we researched three beautifully-decorated plaques made from caribou antler that had been found at the site in the 1980s by the archaeologist William Taylor, which are currently in the Canadian Museum of History. These are unique in all of the Arctic, and are the earliest art in the Kitikmeot region. While we can’t be sure what they mean, the markings likely indicate an animal’s skeleton, and it is possible they represent polar bears.

Andrew Riddle and Quentin Crockatt excavate at the site that yielded very early art.
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The three plaques, showing intricate carving that may represent a skeleton. Photo courtesy of Karen Ryan, Canadian Museum of History.
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