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Great Canadian Aboriginal Stone Age Tools - 14,000 BC - 1600

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Stone Axes, Canadian Indian
Orig. stone axes - Size - life size
Found - Canada
A fabulous collection of Canadian Indian stone axes and clubs, once used by Aboriginal peoples, to give you an idea of what shapes and sizes you can expect to find when collecting antique items.

The stone axes are grooved, to make them easier to tie to wooden hafts.

The two 19th century Plains Indian war clubs are not grooved.

Nor are the two hand axes or celts at the bottom.

The four mauls at the top from left to right are:from the former Blake McKendry Collection, in Kingston, ON; a granite maul from Kettle Point, ON; two mauls collected from Blackfeet territory, near Hawarden, SK.

The largest two mauls are from southern Ontario, as are the two hand axes, or celts.

The war clubs come from an old London Ontario estate collection.

A quarter, a normal arrowhead, and two bird points are included for scale.

flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure A fabulous example of the earliest type of stone axe, actually a "celt," or hand axe, ergonomically shaped to fit the hand, rounded at one end, bevelled, sharpened, and polished at the other.

Since the arm was the haft, a celt was not grooved. It was used to chop skins from a carcass, or gristle and fat from a hide pulled taught over a stretcher.

It was found on the banks of the Sydenham River by old-timer Jack McEwen of Aberfeldy, in southern Ontario, and given to 10 year old Hans in 1951, for cutting his lawn.

Hans, as he looked in Grades 3-4, has had it in his Canadiana collection for 60 years.

It would ultimately inspire him to create Great Canadian heritage TV programs and websites like the following:

Go to Canada's First Peoples

 

Go to the Shooting of Dudley George
Celt, Neutral Indians - Aberfeldy, ON

Orig. celt - Size - 15 cm
Found - Aberfeldy, ON

In 1995 Hans started filming, behind the barricades of Camp Ipperwash, after the Ontario Provincial Police attacked the occupiers and shot Dudley George, the only Canadian Indian killed by government forces in a First Nations land dispute in the 20th century.

Hans was motivated to shoot the story because he and his family, for years, in the 1950s, swam and picnicked on the exact spot - literally - where Dudley George had been killed.

In 2003, IPPERWASH: A CANADIAN TRAGEDY premiered on CBC TV, as the season opener on THE PASSIONATE EYE. The one-and-a-half hour program won the PLATINUM AWARD, the top award given by Houston Texas WORLDFEST, the biggest film and television festival in the world, in competition with the top productions from around the globe.

"To Whom it May Concern at Goldi Productions,"

"I wanted to express my gratitude for your website, "Canada's First Peoples."  While teaching the First Nations unit to my Grade 4/5 class, your website was invaluable!   The lay out, pictures and information under clear headings really helped us find information for our projects.
Thank you again!  We've been blessed by your work."
- a Teacher, Toronto, ON

"Thank you for putting together such an awesome website on Canada's First People. I teach grade 4 in Kamloops, BC and it has been a great resource for my class. It is easy to navigate and has tons of great info and pictures. I just wanted to congratulate you on a job well done! Best regards."
- A Teacher – Kamloops, BC

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Another fine celt which marks a transition between a chopper and a knife.

It is slender and light in comparison to the celt above, and is fairly sharp on the front.

It would have been used to chop away gristle and muscle - carefully - from a hide.

Its slender design - not really cut down, but adapted from a smaller stone to begin with - was probably meant for use by children or teens.

Celt, Neutral Indians - Jarvis, ON
Orig. celt - Size - 14 cm
Found - Jarvis, ON
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Stone Maul - Blackfoot Territory, Hawarden, Saskatchewan
Orig. maul - Size - 11 cm
Found - Hawarden, SK
Two stone axe heads were found near Hawarden, Saskatchewan, south of Saskatoon, in the traditional territory of the Blackfoot Indians.

These are actually mauls - heavy clubs or hammers - that were grooved so that saplings could be split and wrapped tightly around the head, or lashed on with hide strips. By strapping them onto hafts they could be swung with much greater force than hand-held axes.

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Stone Maul - Blackfoot Territory, Hawarden, Saskatchewan
Orig. maul - Size - 12 cm
Found - Hawarden, SK
Both mauls have a blunt, general purpose end, possibly for pounding stakes.

The other ends were clearly designed for other uses, one being finely rounded the other decidedly pointed.

The rounded maul could be rolled to turn and grind large granular items - nuts, corn, and berries, or clays like ochre, or charcoal and cinders, for paints - into powder.

The pointy tool could deliver sharp point of impact blows on large buffalo bones to get at marrow inside.

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It is still possible to come across buffalo bones in some remote sites in western Canada.

We found this in an isolated gully near Drumheller, Alberta, mute testimony to a Canada that did not value it as a resource, or the people it sustained, as worthy of humanitarian consideration.

It shows the jagged broken and chipped edges where, long ago, a hard-working Blackfoot woman, probably using a stone maul, like the one above right, broke it open to get at the marrow inside, to feed her family.

Traditionally, Plains People often hunted buffalo by driving them over cliffs, or buffalo jumps, where the animals were either killed by the fall, or crippled, so they could be easily dispatched.

Just about any cliff probably had buffalo driven over it at some time, but some sites became favoured because they were close to where the buffalo traditionally passed, or had the perfect topography to direct a drive, provide a great drop, and give easy access to the bottom of the kill site, for women and children to do the butchering.

The most famous buffalo cliff site in western Canada is Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump in southern Alberta, west of Fort Macleod.

Below a fabulous diorama you can see at the Batoche, Saskatchewan Museum. It gives you a fabulous view and feel, for exactly what you would see at a buffalo jump or kill site 150 years ago.

Go to Great Canadian Road Kill
Buffalo Bone - Alberta
Orig. bone - Image Size - 26 cm
Found - Drumheller, AB

This Indian woman is using metal tools which started to filter into Canada's Aboriginal tribes after the arrival of whites in the 1600s, the French in the Canadian regions, and the Anglos, further south.

But before 1600 this cutting and hacking work would be done with stone choppers like the celt above.

In fact in Canada's far north, among the Dene, they still use the old, Pre-historic bone choppers when fleshing hides, because they are superior to steel knives which are too sharp, so that a careless blow could cut the hide, which bone tools never do

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Stone Maul - Kettle Point, ON
Orig. maul - Size - 12 cm
Found - Kettle Point, ON
A granite maul that hails from the Kettle Point area near the south end of the Canadian side of Lake Huron.
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Stone Maul - McKendry Coll
Orig. maul - Size - 13 cm
Found - Kingston, ON
Another maul from the fabulous Canadian collection of the late Blake McKendry.
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A massive stone maul that was found in the traditional territory of southern Ontario's Neutral (Attawandaron Iroquois) Indians, a now extinct people who lived in the area during the Stone Age, (14,000 BC - 1600).

By 1653 they were virtually obliterated by other Iroquois.

The Indians who live in that territory today - the Six Nations Iroquois - are recent immigrants (1700s) to the area, being offered land to relocate from their traditional homelands in the US after the American Revolution in the 1780s.

Their tools would have been mainly metal based.

This is a massive maul that would have been used to drive large stakes for shelters, and racks.

Stone Maul - Kettle Point, ON
Orig. maul - Size - 20 cm
Found - Milton, ON
flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure Another massive maul dating from Neutral times, that was found near the Grand River.

Whereas the maul above is very rounded, this one is very flattened on both sides. This meant that far less work would have been required to groove it, since it has only two wide sides, and a very narrow top and bottom.

Of course, however it was important to have hammers for pounding corn into meal, or stakes into the ground, one had to have them for pounding on people's heads as well.

Tribal warriors quickly found out that blunt ended mauls might stun an enemy but not do much internal damage.

So new maul shapes were evolved for warfare.

Stone Maul - Grand River, ON
Orig. maul - Size - 23 cm
Found - Jarvis, ON
flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure A fabulous grinding stone once used for years, by an Indian family to grind up berries and nuts, or perhaps ochre for making paints.

It shows the telltale hollow produced by thousands of hours of rubbing and grinding.

The stone on top is a sample stone from the same location where the grinding stone was found. The Indian women would have used a very similar sized and shaped rock to do the grinding on the big rock.

Alas, you will not find such portable grinding stones in Canada, where Iroquoian people in Ontario were more agriculturally sedentary, and so could make use of local grinding stones that were huge, and used by successive generations.

This came from Arkansas, where plains people moved across the prairies following the buffalo. They had to carry portable grinding stones and this was no doubt a treasured family tool for generations.

Grinding Stone - Texarkana, AR
Orig. grinding stone - Size - 19 cm w
Found - Texarkana, AR
flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure Of course not all stones were ground, shaped, gouged, or chipped into some kind of useful tool.

Some were just used as is.

Like this mellon-sized one, which was used in a tent ring of rocks to hold down the flaps of a tent, many hundreds of years ago, in a remote part of southern Alberta.

The lichen growth is on the side that was buried in the prairie by the elements after it had been rolled off the tent for the last time.

Today there are no houses, or people for miles and miles, from the location where this tent ring rock once overheard laughter and chatter as the Blackfoot family set up their tent, and settled down to discuss their plans for the future, 100 or 200 years ago...

Tent Ring Rock - near Etzikom, AB
Orig. rock - Size - 18 cm w
Found - Etzikom, AB
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Neutral Indian Arrowheads, Southern Ontario - Stone Age 14,000 BC - 1600
Orig. flint - Size - 17 mm - 7 cm
Found - Jarvis, ON
Arrowheads from the Neutral indians lie scattered at old Indian campsites all over eastern Canada.

The longest point is 7 cm long; the smallest, 17mm, is a "bird point," used for targeting small birds, while the others are for bigger game.

Most are notched, in some way, at the back, to make it easier to tie them onto the arrow shaft.

All the points are chipped from flint, by pounding away flakes with a maul made of hard stone. Flint is easier to fracture into the shape you want than other types of stone. Flint stone comes in many colours as it originates as sedimentary rock, deposited in pre-historic times in great seas that covered the earth, then compressed and chemically altered through time.

flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure A rare set of Indian boiling stones from the Appalachian area of Eastern North America.

Before the coming of Europeans, and their metal technology, Indians boiled water in skins, and adding hot boiling stones that were heated in the fire and dumped into the skin, repeatedly till the water boiled.

One stone still shows the sooty remnants from the last time it was put in the fire.

These stones have been pierced to make it easy to handle them with sticks.

The larger one shows it was drilled for two holes, to make it easier to retrieve from a fire.

Below a woman shows how two sticks are used to handle a boiling stone from fire to pot.

Indian Boiling Stones
Orig. boiling stones - Image Size - 9 & 11 cm w
Found - North Augusta, SC
A detailed painting of how Indian women traditionally used two sticks to handle boiling stones to heat water in skin bags or in fragile pottery vessels, neither of which could be put into a fire to heat liquids directly.

So stones were heated to transfer the heat.

Big round stones would have been more efficient - bigger carries more heat - and rounder stones much easier to find. But they are difficult to handle with tools the women had.

How many women, in a hurry to heat water, tried to use a big rock to heat her bowl, fumbled it in the transfer, and broke her precious pottery bowl? Or had her children break the bowl...?

Flat stones are easier to drill with holes, making them much easier to hold with gripping sticks.

 

flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure A fascinating group of relics you can find at old Indian camp sites.

This lot includes:
- a bird bone awl for piercing fabrics,

- pierced grizzly bear claws for necklaces,

- notched and unnotched arrowheads,

- pottery shards, and

- various pipe remnants.

Indian Relics
Orig. relics - Size -
Found - Milton, ON
flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure A fabulous pair of Plains Indian war clubs from an old Ontario collection shows clearly the construction and materials used to make these deadly weapons.

The axe heads are uniquely and sharply pointed on both ends - the signature design of Plains Indian war clubs - so allowing them to puncture skulls with a death-dealing injury instead of just a stunning blow with a flat-ended axe.

The hide wrap on this is still relatively tight around the axe.

It also features some painted decoration on the club and on the hide.

This one still appears to have some DNA on the end, could it possibly be from another hapless Indian - tribal warfare went on in the Canadian prairies past the middle of the 19th century.

ebay sold a stone tomahawk that once belonged to Santee Sioux Chief Little Crow, and which still had DNA on it. It was seized from him during the US Indian wars of Minnesota of 1862.

Go to Bloody Tomahawk
Plains Tribe War Club - 19th century
Orig. club - Size - 55 cm
Found - London, ON
In 1890, "Little" of the Oglala Sioux, was called the instigator of the Pine Ridge Massacre of 1890.

With a sure eye towards increasing sales for his photos, the photographer has posed him as a wild savage, complete with rifle, bow and arrows, and a war club of the same kind as we illustrate here.

Little seems quite amused at all the props he has to juggle...

The sharply pointed double ends, and a skin band around an ungrooved head are typical of plains Indian war clubs.

Go to Great War Photographers

 

Go to Massacre at Wounded Knee

 

flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure This Plains indian war club shows the sewing that attached the hide wrapping around the wooden haft.

This war club head also has a hole drilled into the bottom into which the top of the haft is fitted - now loosely from over a century of drying out.

Both hafts are painted with symbols and colours whose religious or cultural significance are now lost in the mists of time.

War clubs like this are very rare to find anymore. These two came from the estate of a 90 year old woman, whose grandfather collected these when he was young.

Go to Indian Wars

 

 

 

Plains Tribe War Club - 19th century
Orig. club - Size - 48 cm
Found - London, ON
flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure One of the first contributions the white French and Anglo-Saxon culture made to that of the Aboriginals was the iron axe or tomahawk, starting in the early 1600s.

This is a typical I&H Sourby trade tomahawk that was prized as a weapon. It was light, indestructible, and could cleave the toughest skull.

Stone war clubs were soon relegated to ceremonial functions as everyone wanted an iron tomahawk to despatch rivals in love and war...

Go to Death of Tecumseh
Iron Tomahawk Trade Axe - I&H Sourby
Orig. axe - Size - 20 cm
Found - London, ON
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Iron Broad Axes - Canadian Pioneer, 19th century
Orig. axes - Size - bit widths top left clockwise: 36, 19, 35 cm
Found - top left clockwise: Palgrave, Napanee, Proton Station, ON
Three iron axes that helped cut down the virgin forests of Ontario to clear the land for farming. Well, not really...

These three axes never cut down a single tree, as they are all "broad axes" used for squaring timbers, shaving the sides flat from fallen trees.

Below you can see the top profile that is the same for all three axes.

On broad axes the holes for the handle (the eye) are not centred, and one side of the blade (cheek) is flattened, allowing you to chop extremely close to the log. As well on the bit, the cutting edge, only one side is bevelled, the other is flat.

And the handle is offset, to give your swing clearance away from the log. Normal "felling" axes have the haft hole and axe handle centred, and are double-bevelled on the bit.

In front is a very rare home made broad axe that was turned up by a plough in a field near Proton Station, ON.

It is a rough construction on all sides and was most lovingly made by a local smithy, and used to clear the land in the 1830s. It has huge compression blow marks where a sledge was used, first on the butt (extreme right) and then on the blade itself, to split logs, possibly to make split rail fences.

Another view of a good broad axe with the handle offset, angling up and away to allow the blade to stay close to the log while the broad axe man can keep his hands, and swing clear.

The blade is only bevelled on this side, the other side of the bit being completely flat.

The proper blade is also slightly concave, with the ends lifting up very slightly so that the corners of the bit don't bite into the wood, but only the centre.

In the home made smithy broad axe above, the blade is missing the concavity and the bevelling niceties.

 

flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure A rare relic from the past, a rural Ontario pioneer split rail fence, once used to divide fields between neighbours, or to keep animals enclosed.

This is a superb example showing off the split rails that were put up as cheap, but accessible fencing, in the 1830s or so, long before wire was available to do the same job more quickly.

The fencerow also shows the rocks which were laboriously removed from the fields, after the trees were cut, to allow plowing the soil with horses and oxen.

These fencerows offered superb and vital habitat for wildlife and provided both shelter and food for amphibians, reptiles and birds. Research tells us that fencerows are essential habitat to some 18 species of vertebrates (critters with a backbone) and the preferred habitat of some 70 other species.

Some of the more common wildlife associated with fencerows include squirrels, rabbits, woodchuck, chipmunks, red fox, indigo buntings, cardinals, eastern bluebirds, red-headed woodpeckers, eastern screech owls, red tailed hawks, garter and fox snakes, skinks, voles, mice, and turtles.

Pioneer Fence, Niagara Peninsula - 1840s
Orig. photo - Image -
Found - Niagara, ON
We can still recall, in the early 1950s, carrying rocks from farm fields to the fence lines like this.

In the tradition of all Canadian pioneer farmers, John Goldi and brother Fred, are excavating a huge stump from the middle of a field where it was inconveniently interfering with plowing and planting.

The picture was taken about 1954, about half a mile south of the Aberfeldy store.

When we returned to the site of our youthful toils, in the 1990s, everything was gone - the rocks, the fence line, and all the critters that once called it home - removed to make one giant field out of several big ones.

Where we had dug out the huge stump, barely a dip marked the spot where two young boys toiled away, for several days, almost 60 years ago.

The wholesale removal of fence rows, in southern Ontario, to make fields more accessible to large farm machinery, has caused a huge decline in bird numbers and species, that were once numerous in the area in the 1950s.

 

flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure A famous split rail fence being reclaimed by the land that proved entirely unsuitable to farming, this the original 1830s homestead of Susanna Moodie in Lakefield, ON.

These old rails may very well have been originally cut by Dunbar Moodie to enclose his fields, on the other side, in the 1830s and 40s.

They tried to make a go of it, for awhile, then gave up and moved away, because the soil was rocky, swampy and infertile.

Susanna and her sister Catharine Parr Traill became famous early Canadian writers.

Susanna wrote of the Indians who were in this area, the only ones who could wrest a productive existence from land that proved unfruitful, until the motorcar, combined with growing leisure time, made this region a tourist mecca in modern times.

Go to Susanna
Susanna Moodie Homestead Fence - c 1840s
Orig. photo - Size -
Found - Lakefield, ON
flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure A typical Ontario pioneer's first cabin made of timbers squared with a broad axe.

By cutting the logs square, instead of just mounting them round, meant that the joints, where the logs lay together, were a lot thicker - the width of the beam itself - offered better insulation, fit better, and required less chinking.

But it required a lot more work with the broad axe.

On the sides of the old timbers one can still make out the chop marks made by hard working pioneers, over 200 years ago.

This cabin is said to have been built by Peter Fairchild sometime between 1791 and 1812, in Jordan Station and then brought to this conservation area.

Originally the timbers would have fitted much more tightly together, but 200 years of drying out have opened the gaps.

Peter's axe marks are still visible, showing that different people worked on preparing the logs.

Peter Fairchild Cabin, c 1800 - Ball's Falls, ON
Orig. cabin - Size -
Found - Ball's Falls, ON
flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure Another early 19th century pioneer log cabin from the Furry family, who also used squared timbers as the preferred material for walls.

The rounded logs would have been scored every few inches, with a traditional felling axe, biting deep into the sides to the desired depth. A broad axe man would have then cut off the bark and excess wood down to the score marks, producing a squared timber.

A good broad axe man would have left a smooth surface; his teenage son would have done a sloppy job, leaving the original score marks visible. Now go see which logs were done by dad...

The earliest type of pioneer fencing is shown, making use of the stumps pulled from the ground and woven together to create pens for stock animals.

The corner construction technique used in both cabins is a "dove-tail" notching, which helps lock the timbers together.

Furry Cabin, c 1830 - Ball's Falls, ON
Orig. cabin - Size -
Found - Ball's Falls, ON
flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure

At Emerson, MB is preserved a cabin from pioneering days in southern Manitoba.

This cabin is probably late 18 hundreds and so is a full century younger than the Ontario cabins.

Its dovetail corner notching is still tight, with the logs having shrunk a lot less. The Ontario cabins probably looked like this a hundred years ago, showing far less chinking.

Some of the timbers show good broad axe work, but others were probably cut with two men working a two-handled saw in a sawpit, accounting for the ultra square and smooth sides.

Just another reason why Emerson is a major tourist destination for Western Canadians...

It's also close to where Ellie Siegmeister invented #2 of the Seven Wonders of Canada...

Go to Emerson MB
Pièce-en-pièce Construction Log Cabin, Emerson, MB - c 1870
Orig. cabin - Size -
Found - Emerson, MB
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Inuit File c 1910 - Central Arctic
Orig. tool - Image Size - 40 cm
Found - Montreal River, Adelaide Peninsula, NU
A fabulous Inuit file, cadged together with a bit of metal salvaged off an old central arctic whaling campsite by a long-dead Inuit hunter, who fastened it with string to a piece of drift wood. Found abandoned - or lost - on a remote beach, far from any settlement or human habitation.
flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure

A fabulous discovery, on a remote beach, during a caribou hunting expedition on the Adelaide Peninsula, in Canada's Central Arctic.

It is a classic example of the bridge in technology from the stone age to the iron age, as white man's culture - through whalers, traders, explorers - started to have growing appeal among the Inuit people of Canada's far north.

In a remote area where even wood is a rare commodity, the Inuit people used bone to make handles for implements of various kinds, like this hatchet.

Abandoned - probably lost - for generations, by a long departed Inuit hunter, the bone handle is now lichen encrusted from decades of exposure to passing arctic seasons.

A hard to come by piece of metal has been attached with a heavy piece of cordage.

The holes were laboriously drilled with wood or bone drills.

It's the adaptability of Canada's Inuit people that allowed them to survive in the harshest climate on earth.

Unlike a huge British naval expedition which tried to barge into their territory in the early 19th century, with their supposed superior - but inflexible - culture, and perished to a man.

Inuit Bone-handled Hatchet - c 1890
Orig. tool - Image Size - 14 cm
Found - Montreal River, Adelaide Peninsula, NU
flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure Canada's Greatest Arctic Disaster: In 1845 British explorer Sir John Franklin, in two ships, the Erebus and the Terror, and some 130 men, set out to find a way through the ice-bound channels around the north end of the Canadian arctic.

They never returned, and within a couple of years, search parties set out by land and sea to try to reach the spot in the arctic where they might possibly be. But all that was ever found were relics and bones.

It turned out that the ships had frozen in and the men abandoned them and tried to walk out, south to Hudson's Bay posts. None of them made it. Relics were gathered from Inuit people who salvaged what the men abandoned, or dropped, as they died of starvation.

During a seal hunting expedition, in Canada's high arctic, Canadian school teacher and historian John Goldi trekked along the southern shore of King William Island, an area where only a handful of white men have ever been.

He followed the exact trail of Franklin's men, by snowmobile during April, the same month the men died along the shore, when the land was snow-free, but the ice was still thick on the sea.

He found several cairns containing bones, set up in the 1930s by Hudson's Bay Manager Paddy Gibson FRC.

The jaw bone, left, probably from a cabin boy who was on the expedition, was found by itself, along the shore by Johnny Anguttitauruq, a hunter who was accompanying John Goldi, and brought it to him.

"Kabloonak! Not Eskimo!" said Joseph Nasagloolik another hunter who looked it over.

There are no teeth, indicating scurvy had ravaged through the gums of the dying men as they trekked along the shoreline.

It was an emotional moment, to be so in intimate contact with one of Canada's great historic tragedies in a spot which was still exactly as it was when Franklin's men stumbled to their deaths along the barren coast.

Both Inuit hunters, friends who accompanied John Goldi on this hunt, in 1975, died young, later, in tragic accidents: Joseph Nasagloolik by falling off his snowmobile, and hitting his head on jagged ice, and Johnny Anguttitauruq, who shot himself accidentally when unleashing his rifle from his sled.

Sir John Franklin's Jawbone, 1847
Lower jaw - Size - 10 cm d
Found - Peffer Point, King William Is, NU

In fact finding human bones, in the remote areas of Canada's high arctic - where few humans, let alone white men ever go - is not uncommon. On one occasion John Goldi found a human skull, with a bullet hole in it. Alarmed, he collected it and brought it to one of Canada's top archaeologists, Dr. Walter Kenyon at the Royal Ontario Museum - the Toronto Police Forensic Lab was not remotely interested, that someone was carrying around a skull.

Kindly Walter explained the life history of the person - an Inuit woman with many maladies - and that the "bullet hole" was not, but a hole made long after the skull was on the ground. Then he informed me that our "good intentions notwithstanding," we had broken several laws regarding human remains... He kindly refused to accept the skull for research saying, "I have lots already." Getting rid of a human skull in Toronto proved to be a major problem.

Later Dr. Kenyon was himself, charged with numerous violations of the Cemeteries Act, by First Nations groups, whose graves he was fond of digging up...

flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure The ulu is a unique knife tool that is still the most common knife used among the Inuit in Canada's far north.

It's the ideal skinning knife, because, with its half moon shaped blade, it never punctures the skin of the hide that is cut from seals, or caribou during the skinning process.

Metal, brought in by whalers in the late 19th century was quickly adapted and fitted with handles made of wood or caribou bone.

Inuit Ulus - c 1940s - Central Arctic
Orig. ulus - Image Size - 23 cm
Found - Gjoa Haven, Cambridge Bay, NU
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Platter, Arctic Scenery - 1846
Orig. platter - Size - 30 x 40 cm
Found - Napanee, ON
An absolutely rare and fabulous Arctic Scenery platter from c 1845 - the same year Franklin and his men were in Canada's high arctic - shows that arctic expeditions were popular to feature on spectacular dinner ware services.

This platter is huge and shows about what it must have looked like when Franklin and his men were wintered in, in the Central Arctic, before starting on their fatal trek out to civilization.

Covering the ships over, as the men hunkered inside, was a common practice in arctic expeditions. With summer the ice would, hopefully, melt and the ships could sail away.

But the ice did not melt around Franklin's ships which were crushed instead and sank leaving the men no choice but to walk out.