Ceramic Pottery Recovered from Early Whaling Community

Two men each hold a ceramic vessel at the archaeological excavation
Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center

Research at Hare Harbor in Quebec, Canada has revealed important clues about the connections between the Inuit peoples of Northern Canada and the Basque whalers of Spain and France.

Excavations at the site between 2002 and 2011 have shown that this site was a whaling and fishing station occupied by Basque and Inuit assistants ca. 1680-1730. Archaeologists have uncovered a cookhouse, a blacksmith shop, and the remains of several Inuit winter houses. Researchers have discovered large piles of ballast, butchered whalebones, and other cultural materials like ceramic vessels, roof tiles, and barrel parts at an underwater site in the harbor. Here, divers Frederic Simard and Erik Phaneuf display two two ceramic vessels that were found during in an underwater excavation in 2007.

Learn more about what has been uncovered at Hare Harbor and how it has helped scientists understand this early whaling community and its occupants.