Ommatik 1 Petroglyph Survey Project
John Higdon has initiated a research project to learn more about the names, dates and iconography etched in stone at Ommatik 1, Northern Labrador. John recorded the site in 2014 after hearing about it from Parks Canada’s Species Conservation Specialist, Darroch Whitaker. Whitaker was taken to the site by Parks Canada’s Resource Management Technician, Jacko Merkuratsuk, who had heard about the location of the site, but had never been there before (Darroch Whitaker, pers. comm. 2014).
Operating out of the Torngat Mountains Base Camp and Research Station, situated at the head of Saglek Fiord’s St. John’s Harbour (kANGIDLUASUk), John returned to the site in the July 2015 to conduct an initial archaeological survey of the site and its associated features. This survey revealed over twenty stones with over 100 distinct names and inscriptions with dates showing at least 130 years of continual, be it sporatic, use. Presentations were delivered to base camp and Nain residents in August 2015 to share the preliminary results of the survey and also to ask for feedback concerning the site and the names engraved in stone. This fieldwork was made possible through the financial support of the Nunatsiavut Archaeology Office and AARA Inc., and other support from Parks Canada.
The next phase of the project will commence in the fall and winter of 2015 by working with the field data, library, archival sources, and eventually local communities, to better understand the origin of the names and inscriptions, as well as the importance of the site to people of Nunatsiavut and Nunavik.