A Hans Krüger Arctic Expedition Cache on Axel Heiberg Island, Nunavut


  • Robert W. Park
  • Douglas R. Stenton




German Arctic Expedition, Hans Krüger, archaeology, geology, Axel Heiberg Island, Nunavut


In 1999 a team of geologists discovered an archaeological site near Cape Southwest, Axel Heiberg Island. On the basis of its location and the analysis of two artifacts removed from the site, the discoverers concluded that it was a hastily abandoned campsite created by Hans Krüger’s German Arctic Expedition, which was believed to have disappeared between Meighen and Amund Ringnes islands in 1930. If the attribution to Krüger were correct, the existence of this site would demonstrate that the expedition got farther on its return journey to Bache Peninsula than previously believed. An archaeological investigation of the site by the Government of Nunavut in 2004 confirmed its tentative attribution to the German Arctic Expedition but suggested that it is not a campsite, but the remains of a deliberately and carefully constructed cache. The finds suggest that one of the three members of the expedition may have perished before reaching Axel Heiberg Island, and that the survivors, in order to lighten their sledge, transported valued but heavy items (including Krüger’s geological specimens) to this prominent and well-known location to cache them, intending to return and recover them at some later date.