First Peoples > An Ancient Bond with the Land > Arctic Whalers > The Whaling Village at Qariaraqyuk

An Ancient Bond with the Land

Arctic Whalers

The Whaling Village at Qariaraqyuk

The long-abandoned village at Qariaraqyuk is located in a key whaling area in the Central High Arctic of Canada. It is the largest Thule village known, and its 57 whale-bone winter houses may have housed a population of about 300 people. Archaeological excavations revealed much evidence of whale hunting, including toboggans made of whale baleen.

People lived in the village at Qariaraqyuk between about 800 to 500 years ago, and then abandoned it for reasons that remain uncertain. Inuit bowhead whaling fell off sharply in most areas at about this time. Since then, Canadian Inuit have continued to hunt bowheads, but less systematically, often using kayaks rather than umiaqs.

Map of Qariaraqyuk, an archaeologial site and the largest Thule Inuit village in Arctic Canada
Source: Peter Whitridge

 winter house
 summer / fall tent ring
 food cache
 contour lines (2 m)

Map - Qariaraqyuk - Canadian Geographic

Whalebone house ruins at the Brooman Point site, High Arctic Canada
Courtesy of Robert McGhee, Canadian Museum of Civilization

Whalebone House Ruins - Courtesy of Robert McGhee
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