Arctic Field Projects

Project Title: Collaborative Research: Inglefield Land Archaeology Project IPY initiative: Dynamic social systems at the entrance to Greenland (Award# 0732620)

PI: LeMoine, Genevieve M (
Phone: (207) 725.3304 
Institute/Department: Bowdoin College, The Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum 
IPY Project? YES
Funding Agency: US\Federal\NSF\GEO\OPP\ARC\ASSP
Program Manager: Dr. Anna Kerttula (
Discipline(s): | Social and Human Sciences | Social and Human Sciences\Archaeology |

Project Web Site(s):

Science Summary:
This grant funds a collaborative archaeological excavation of Thule/Inughuit sites in 2008 and 2009. The goal is to investigate the prehistoric-to-historic transition in this region, and to gain an understanding of this period of key culture contact and environmental change. The prehistoric-historic transition here dates to the 19th century. Sporadic contact with Euro- Americans began in 1818 when John Ross first anchored off Cape York, and became increasingly frequent after 1850. At the same time, (ca. 1860) the Inughuit assimilated into their society a group of migrants from Baffin Island. Both of these processes had major and lasting impacts on Inughuit society, and because both of them involved introducing, or re-introducing, important technologies, they are amenable to archaeological investigation. The researchers will use a variety of approach to conduct technological studies to understand how the Inughuit adopted new tools and materials into their activities, and what impact such changes had on their lives. The nineteenth century also saw the end of the Little Ice Age, with increased warming accompanied by as-yet undocumented changes in the abundance and distribution of plants and animals. Studies of both economically important animals and the insect fauna of the sites will address questions of the timing and scope of the changes, as well as the Inughuit’s responses to them. Sites have been selected on the basis of surveys conducted by the team in 2004 and 2005. In 2008 the team will excavate late-prehistoric/early historic winter dwellings at Cape Grinnell, a site first identified by Elisha Kent Kane in the1850s as having recently abandoned houses. In 2009 they will focus our efforts on Qaqaitsut, a winter village occupied as recently as the 1980s (but with much older houses as well). Houses and adjacent middens will be excavated. The field team will also map both of these multi-component sites in detail. At Cape Grinnell, a geomorphological study will help us understand the development of beach ridges that have been occupied for over 4000 years. Project team members will disseminate results through a variety of channels. Museum exhibits in Brunswick, Maine, Nuuk, and Thule, Greenland, and associated on-line exhibits will reach general audiences in both the U.S. and Greenland.

Logistics Summary:
For this collaborative project between 0732620 (LeMoine, Bowdoin, Lead) and 0732850 (Darwent, UC Davis), researchers will excavate selected late prehistoric and early historic Thule/Inughuit sites to more closely examine the period when Inughuit, Baffin Inuit, Europeans, and Americans all commingled in the area. The work, to be carried out in 2008 and 2009, builds on earlier studies made by the PIs (see grant 0330981 in this database). A team of up to 12 researchers will return to Inglefield Land, Greenland, for 6 weeks from late June through early August of 2008 and 2009 to continue archaeological investigations. Each year, the US team members will travel to Thule Air Base and on to Qaanaaq from their respective institutes. From there they will put in to their remote field sites via helicopter. In 2008 a team of researchers will assemble in Kangerlussuaq and then travel to Thule, Qaanaaq, and to Inglefield Land from there. The researchers (an international team from the US and Greenland) will operate from a base at Cape Grinnell and work primarily in that area. Approximately 9-10 people will be in the field at any one time, with a mid-season crew change/resupply flight (these researchers will come from Qaanaaq.) In the field, the team members will travel to study sites on foot and via an inflatable boat when possible. For the 2009 season eight team members will deploy from the Thule Air Base, six coming from the US via AMC flight and two coming from Nuuk. They will put in to camp at Paris Fjord on the far northern coast of Inglefield Land. Due to the distance from Qaanaaq, a Twin Otter has put in a fuel cache on the Hiawatha Glacier for the helicopter’s use. Mid-way through the 2009 season (mid July), the researchers will split in to two teams. While one continues working at Paris Fjord, the other will transfer to a second field site at Glacier Bay via helicopter. After the field team puts in to the Glacier Bay camp, researchers will make helicopter-supported surveys of the mouth of the fjord at Marshall Bay as well as of Kap Inglefield to the south. On the return to Glacier Bay the researchers will survey Cape Taney before being dropped off. The helicopter will then return to Thule.

CPS will provide AMC clearances, Air Greenland helicopter charters, transport between Kangerlussuaq or Nuuk and the Thule Air Base (for Greenlandic participants) and Baltimore and the Thule Air Base (for US participants), en-route lodging, rental truck in Thule, camping/safety equipment, fuel, freight, and reimbursement for field food. All other logistics, including the costs associated with travel from Nuuk to Kangerlussuaq for one team member, will be arranged/paid by the researchers.
SeasonField SiteDate InDate Out#People
2008Greenland - Cape Grinnell06 / 26 / 2008 08 / 08 / 200811
2008Greenland - Inglefield Land06 / 26 / 2008 08 / 08 / 200811
2008Greenland - Kangerlussuaq06 / 23 / 2008 08 / 08 / 200810
2008Greenland - Qaanaaq06 / 26 / 2008 08 / 08 / 200811
2009Greenland - Force Bugt06 / 21 / 2009 08 / 08 / 200914
2009Greenland - Glacier Bay06 / 21 / 2009 08 / 08 / 200914
2009Greenland - Inglefield Land06 / 21 / 2009 08 / 08 / 200914
2009Greenland - Kangerlussuaq06 / 18 / 2009 08 / 08 / 200914
2009Greenland - Qaanaaq06 / 21 / 2009 08 / 08 / 200914
2009Greenland - Qaqaitsut06 / 21 / 2009 08 / 08 / 200914

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