Once Were... Shamen? Kiinatuqarvik: A Multidisciplinary Project of Unique Dorset Petroglyphs
Type de publication:Conference Paper
Résumé (en anglais):
In 1996 a multidisciplinary project named Kiinatuqarvik (an Inuit word meaning 'faces appearing on the rock') was initiated by the Avataq Cultural Institute following a request from the Kangirsujuaq Community. The Avataq archaeologists were joined in their endeavor by researchers from Laval University and elsewhere. Right from the onset, this long-term project became a multidisciplinary research programme aimed at documenting, studying and protecting the various rock-engraved locations, as well as to construe their place, functions and meanings in the development of local and regional history, especially from the Dorset period onward. Also, one of the main objectives has been to assess the state of preservation of these unique Eastern Arctic sites in the perspective of developing a procedure for the conservation and the responsible management of those non-renewable cultural resources. For the first 3 years, the fieldwork mainly focused on one of those petroglyph sites: Qajartalik (JhEv-1). Although this site had been partly analysed during the 1960s, the visual content (petroglyphs per se) had not been fully recorded, and, overall, the archaeological potential still remained to be carefully exploited. Since this rock engraving site is also an important component of a soapstone quarry, studying the site's activity areas and their surroundings might yield significant clues about its past exploitation, both for economical and ideological purposes, especially during the Dorset period. This paper will present some of the results we obtained so far. In particular, the authors intend to address some questions related to the relationships between the site's physical and symbolic components with regard to the Dorset occupation in this region, and to its presumed shamanic nature when compared with the Dorset religious domain as a whole.