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Excavating a site in the Arctic

The northernmost part of the North American continent has seen some of the most fascinating human adaptations anywhere, extending back thousands of years. But learning about those adaptations through archaeological research in that vast region presents a number of unique challenges, including short field seasons, immense logistical problems, and excavation into permafrost (permanently frozen ground). Using text and images, these pages provide a glimpse of archaeological research in this region and its results focusing principally on the Canadian Arctic where I've done the majority of my research.

Information that you'll find in these pages…

The Arctic Environment — A very brief introduction to the characteristics of the Arctic environment that are most relevant to human occupation of this region.

Finding and Excavating Sites in the Arctic — Some of the logistical considerations that have to be taken into account when doing archaeological fieldwork in the Arctic.

The Culture History of the Arctic — Brief descriptions of the cultures that have been identified through archaeological research.

Archaeological Site Descriptions — Brief descriptions with photographs of excavations of several archaeological sites in the Canadian Arctic. More sites will appear here soon.

The QkHn-12 site — This sequence of pages describes in great detail the results of the excavation of a Thule culture site on Devon Island in the Canadian High Arctic.

Books and other Websites — This link leads to a short bibliography of books on Arctic archaeology and pointers to a few excellent websites also dealing with Arctic peoples and Arctic archaeology.

These pages have just gone through a complete revision with a change of format and many new images. More new content will appear soon. If you find broken links or things that otherwise don't work, please email me: