Integrating Oral History and Archaeology of the 1845 Franklin Expedition: The Case From Kungearkbeearu




1845 Franklin expedition; King William Island; Simpson Strait; oral history; archaeology; burial; artifacts


Attempts to accurately reconstruct events that occurred during the final phases of the 1845 Franklin Northwest Passage expedition face a key challenge: how to address inconsistencies and, in some cases, contradictions between historical descriptions of sites and the archaeological evidence they contain. This paper examines the case of site NcLa-1 at Kungearkbeearu, on the Simpson Strait coast of King William Island, for which the Inuit oral history seems incompatible with archaeological interpretations. New archaeological data from the site provide an enhanced framework within which to evaluate both the oral history and archaeology of NcLa-1.