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Author Topic: Inuksuit  (Read 4678 times)

Offline arcticmag

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Inuksuit
« on: December 07, 2015, 10:44:45 pm »
When I’m prospecting in the arctic I cover a lot of ground, snowshoeing and walking. I’ve kept track and have a file which shows a total 13,903 arctic kilometres walked. While on these walks I’ve come across a variety of different inuksuit. (inuksuk plural) Most are quite simple and some more complicated and large, but my favourites are those constructed by children while playing.

Most of the kid’s ones I’ve found have been on Baffin Island and they have been checked by a consulting archeologist after I give him the locations. This one is unique in that it is made with quartz pieces.



Here’s another simpler one that was about 800 metres up a small creek drainage from the other one.



Here’s another simple one. It was quite old, as there were lichens growing on it that spanned 2 of the rocks.



When I found this one I looked around and about 25 metres away found my favourite so far. Laid out on a flat rock are small stones forming a tent ring and inside that is another ring of smaller stones forming perhaps a sleeping platform. The smaller circle seems to be filled with organic material which has fostered some concentrated lichen growth.



Of course it’s fun to try and figure out the story of how and why these cultural artifacts came to be. With this last one, I’ve come up with a possible explanation, which the archeologist told me is likely to be accurate. The location was not one where a camp would be located and I searched the area quite thoroughly without finding evidence of a campsite. It was a rocky slope not close to any water source. What I did find though was a patch of very lush grass, about 2 feet by 3 feet, and this was about 50 metres from the play site. Since there was no other vegetation in the area growing so thickly, it had to have had an extra source of nutrients. My theory is that a family was travelling through the area and caught a caribou. While the parents were butchering the animal, one or more children were playing in the rocks close by and left the evidence of their playing. The leftover caribou remains after butchering would have provided the nutrients necessary to grow a patch of thick vegetation.

Speaking of caribou, I was out west of Baker Lake, Nunavut. when I came across a series of old caribou meat caches which had been taken down or fallen down long ago. This area is real caribou country and the people here rely heavily on them. The caches were built from rocks of the old beach ridges from former shores of the Thelon River which can be seen in the top left corner.



Now here is a real mystery to me, and to the archeologist, after I showed him the pictures. There were very old bones buried in the pile of rocks. They showed evidence of having been chewed by rodents and they were bleached, with lichens growing on them. Firmly attached to the bones was moist, soft tender pieces of meat. The meat looked and felt very fresh and was very firmly attached. I can’t make heads or tails of it.



Any ideas?
Make friends with the wolf, but keep your axe ready.

Offline AunNordDuNord

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Re: Inuksuit
« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2015, 11:18:02 pm »
Love the north. Great post again! As for the question regarding the last photo... I have no clue...

Offline mewolf1

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Re: Inuksuit
« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2015, 11:23:46 pm »
You've got me by the short hairs on the meaty bones. ???

Offline HOOP

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Re: Inuksuit
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2015, 01:16:05 am »
Thanks again ArcticMag for the images.  Makes me want to get back up the Barrens again.

The meaty bones (fresh) were most likely cached there by a wolverine, I am thinking (without any other info to go on).  Wolverine cache, and they strong enough to wedge bones into little crevasses in the rock, and to move some rocks over top.   

The single most best wildlife viewing opportunity I had on a Barrenlands canoe trip was camping close to a fresh caribou kill by wolves (one of which I observed on the carcass), and then the next day scavenged by a wolverine mother with 2 cubs.  I watched as she worked the carcass, and she would run back up a hill with mouth fulls of meat and bones to cache it in rock piles up on a ridge, then come back down and keep working on it.  After a day's work, there was nothing left but fur and hide bits scattered.  She cached every bone and hunk of meat up in the rock ridge, or buried it in turf somewhere. 

I was camped only about 80 yards away.  The wolverine mother and cubs never minded my presence at all.  I was somewhat worried that a griz might join the party, but no griz showed up.
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Offline cousin Pete

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Re: Inuksuit
« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2015, 08:36:58 am »
hello arctic mag:  Thanks for the report.  Looking forward to the next one.

Take care,
Cousin Pete
"Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to that arrogant oligarchy who merely happen to be walking around." - G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy, 1908

Offline TZBrown

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Re: Inuksuit
« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2015, 09:46:10 am »
Interesting rock piles

Thanks for sharing
Life's A Journey
It's not to arrive safely at the grave in a well preserved body,
But rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting,
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Offline southcove

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Re: Inuksuit
« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2015, 11:35:50 am »
This is good stuff all around and it's great that you are sharing more and that you had the thoughts all along to document your journeys and things of interest along the way...

Did you ever have a chance to work up at the edge of the arctic ocean?   (you were on Baffin, right?)


Offline Caribou

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Re: Inuksuit
« Reply #7 on: December 08, 2015, 07:59:40 pm »
Yeah, the meat is a mystery. It seems logical to have been cached by a predator but being somehow attached to the bone is baffling. Surely it couldn't have somehow been preserved from the original carcass??

By the way I was lucky enough to see a wolverine (although nothing like Hoops experience) while handling polar bears during a study north of Fort Severn on the Hudson Bay coast in Ontario. I saw this large dark animal lopping along a beach ridge from the helicopter which I at first took to be a black bear. When we flew over to investigate it indeed turned out to be a wolverine. We circled around once and snapped some hasty pictures but the wolverine was obviously upset so we backed off. An honour to see such a rare animal!

Thanks again for your interesting posts, keep them coming!

Offline arcticmag

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Re: Inuksuit
« Reply #8 on: December 08, 2015, 11:01:35 pm »
Wolverines are pretty cool animals alright - as long as they're not in camp.

Southcove, I've worked on the SE coast of Baffin and on the north end as well.

Here's a fiord on the south east looking across Cumberland Sound towards Pangnirtung in July.



Doing a mag survey on Cumberland Sound with Sean, and Manasie as our wildlife monitor. Manasie is 78 years old and follows us around while we're surveying, keeping an eye out for bears or other wildlife. He is from Pangnirtung and a well known carver with pieces in famous museums around the world.



Here's a common sight from Pond Inlet, on the north end of Baffin Island. In the background is Bylot Island and Sirmilik National Park, 18 miles away across Eclipse Sound.



No need to make reservations at the campsite just outside of Pond Inlet. A plywood platform to set your tent on.



A dog team making its way back to Pond with Bylot Island in the background.



Donald and I had just finished a heli-staking job and we decided to stay an extra day to go to Sirmilik National Park. We convinced the manager of the Co-op store to rent us his snowmobile, went to the Parks Canada office for our Park orientation and then headed out on the 18 mile crossing of Eclipse Sound. We checked out the foot of Sirmilik glacier, travelled east along the coast to Kaparoqtalik glacier, then came back across Eclipse Sound to Albert Harbour and finally back to Pond. Here we are half way across the Sound.

« Last Edit: December 11, 2015, 10:02:02 am by arcticmag »
Make friends with the wolf, but keep your axe ready.

Offline Jeff

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Re: Inuksuit
« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2015, 08:18:54 am »
Just to say I've really enjoyed you old pictures.  Thanks for digging them out and sharing.

Offline southcove

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Re: Inuksuit
« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2015, 11:10:46 am »
Stunning!  (and a few other superlatives I thought of...)  The vistas, the openess and space (loved the shot of the local 'taxi'...) the grandeur of it all.  Brings to life a bit some of the wonderful reading I have done about arctic explorations, shipwrecks and other adventures over the years.   Thank you! 

Offline TZBrown

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Re: Inuksuit
« Reply #11 on: December 09, 2015, 11:48:28 am »
Stunning!  (and a few other superlatives I thought of...)  The vistas, the openess and space (loved the shot of the local 'taxi'...) the grandeur of it all.  Brings to life a bit some of the wonderful reading I have done about arctic explorations, shipwrecks and other adventures over the years.   Thank you!

That really says it well ^^^^

Thanks again for sharing your adventures
Life's A Journey
It's not to arrive safely at the grave in a well preserved body,
But rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting,
Woo Hoo!....What a Ride!

My Photos http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/sets/
My Videos http://www.youtube.com/user/TZBrown01

Offline mbiraman

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Re: Inuksuit
« Reply #12 on: December 09, 2015, 07:39:43 pm »
Good stuff,, thanks for sharing
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Offline ravinerat

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Re: Inuksuit
« Reply #13 on: December 21, 2015, 01:18:21 pm »
What a stunning place to work and adventure around. Your stories of exploration can only make us dream of such travels. The Artic is a place I dream of traveling to one day. I've had the maps out all week looking over destinations. Love the old Brovo pics.

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