Ethnographic and Archaeological Investigations of Alpine Ice Patches in Southwest Yukon, Canada


  • P. Gregory Hare
  • Sheila Greer
  • Ruth Gotthardt
  • Richard Farnell
  • Vandy Bowyer
  • Charles Schweger
  • Diane Strand



southwest Yukon archaeology, bow and arrow, throwing spear, atlatl, alpine ice patch


Since the original 1997 discovery of ancient hunting implements in melting alpine ice patches of southern Yukon, approximately 146 well-preserved, organic artifacts have been recovered. Most of the artifacts, variously made of antler, bone, wood, and stone, represent complete or partial examples of throwing-dart (atlatl) and bow-and-arrow technology. Radiocarbon dates obtained thus far range from 8360 BP to 90 BP (uncalibrated). Our research indicates that in southern Yukon, throwing-dart technology persisted from at least 8360 BP to approximately 1250 BP, when it was abruptly replaced by bow-and-arrow technology. The collection has afforded archaeologists and First Nation researchers a unique opportunity to learn about past hunting technologies and practices and thus greatly improve our understanding of the enduring relationships between humans and caribou.