New Data Relating to the Prehistory of the Mackenzie Delta Region of the NOGAP Study Area

Book Chapter
CAA Occasional Paper No. 1 1:65-76 (1991)


This paper deals with the results of archaeological investigations which have shed new light on the prehistory of the Mackenzie Delta Region of the Northwest Territories. In particular, test excavations were conducted at several sites, among them a microblade and burin site (NkTj-1) situated on a late Pleistocene palaeo-channel on the Tuktoyaktuk Peninsula, and two Arctic Small Tool tradition (ASTt) sites located in a dense cluster of 34 sites on the Old Horton River Channel on the Cape Bathurst Peninsula. The assemblage from NkTj-1 is thought to represent a Northwest Microblade tradition component, although there may be evidence of potentially earlier material. Of the two ASTt sites, one (ObRv-1) is clearly related to a distinctive, late ASTt variant found at the Lagoon site (OjRl-3) on Banks Island. The other ASTt site (ObRw-11) has materials which suggest an early Palaeo-Eskimo, Independence I-like occupation. Finally, the location of many of the sites on the Old Horton River Channel is situated in a region where a glassy and vesicular fused rock is being produced by spontaneous combustion of organic-rich mudstones. This material was being exploited for tool production by Palaeo-Eskimo, and possibly other cultures in the region.