Subsistence Practices of Pioneering Thule–Inuit: A Faunal Analysis of Tiktalik

John F. Moody and Lisa M. Hodgetts

Abstract

This paper examines faunal material from Tiktalik (NkRi-3), an early Thule–Inuit site on the southern coast of Amundsen Gulf, Northwest Territories. This region was the gateway through which Thule–Inuit pioneers entered the Canadian Arctic from Alaska and therefore has the potential to help us understand how they adapted to the challenges of moving into an unknown landscape. Despite recent research, many gaps in our knowledge of the Thule–Inuit occupation of Amundsen Gulf remain, including detailed studies of subsistence practices. Tiktalik’s faunal material reveals that its occupants relied almost exclusively on ringed seals. Bone modification, ringed seal skeletal-element representation, and the age distribution of hunted ringed seals are also explored. The Tiktalik data provide a baseline for comparison with later sites on Amundsen Gulf and other early Thule–Inuit sites across the North American Arctic.

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