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Dorset-Norse Interactions in the Canadian Eastern Arctic – Page 4

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Dorset Wands and Other European-like Face Images

Other archaeological specimens which might bear closer examination in light of the findings from Nunguvik are the Late Dorset carvings with occasional representations of European-like faces. These images have long been noted, but their interpretations as evidence of contact have generally been discarded as based on judgements which are only subjective. Batons or wands displaying a wide range of images are found on late Dorset sites throughout the eastern Arctic. On a number of these specimens, a distinctive long and narrow face with a prominent straight nose and occasional hints of a beard appear (Figure 6 a,b). It is interesting to note that several of these images were found in N73 at Nunguvik (Figure 6 c,d). Perhaps it is time to re-evaluate the significance of the wands and other Late Dorset specimens where these types of images occur.

Photo: Patricia Sutherland Figure 6: Dorset representations of European-like faces:

a. antler wand from TaJa-1, the Battery site, Axel Heiberg Island, showing a narrow and possibly bearded face (upright) opposed to a more typical Dorset depiction of a human face, b. antler wand from QiLd-1, the Brooman Point site, Bathurst Island, showing a long-nosed face in right profile, c. wooden carving from Nunguvik N73, northern Baffin Island, showing a long-nosed face with prominent eyebrows in left profile, d. wooden carving from Nunguvik N73, northern Baffin Island, showing a long-nosed face; the apparent “horns” are twigs which are part of the original piece of wood.

Photo: Patricia Sutherland,

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