Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory

, Volume 11, Issue 2, pp 183–211

Caribou Crossings and Cultural Meanings: Placing Traditional Knowledge and Archaeology in Context in an Inuit Landscape


  • Andrew M. Stewart
    • Consultant
  • Darren Keith
    • Kitikmeot Heritage Society
  • Joan Scottie
    • Inland Inuit Consulting

DOI: 10.1023/

Cite this article as:
Stewart, A.M., Keith, D. & Scottie, J. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory (2004) 11: 183. doi:10.1023/


Meaning is conveyed by context. Northern landscapes associated with oral traditions provide rich contexts for understanding archaeological features and their spatial and temporal distribution. At the same time, traditional knowledge, including place names, is supported by the persistence of an integral archaeological landscape. The lower Kazan River, Nunavut Territory, Canada, preserves a record of land use for a hunting-trapping society in archaeological remains and traditional knowledge. The record shows that traditions of knowledge are manifest in the archaeological landscape. These traditions include commemoration of people and events in monuments, enduring practices (land skills) that are associated with a “traditional” time, and principles of spatial differentiation and orientation based on relations between people and caribou.

historic Inuit archaeologytraditional knowledgehunter-gatherer landscapescultural meaning

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2004