Find a
Select grade level(s) Select resource type(s) Select collection(s) Select standard(s) Skip navigation Digital Library for Earth System Education
Digital Library for Earth System Education
Search tips
Polar Energy: Where Did Arctic People Get Metal?
This Why Files article investigates trading, sources, and use of metal by Arctic peoples. Until recently, metal was seldom found at Arctic archeological digs. In 1994, a group of scientists found many iron and copper objects by simply using a metal detector. By analyzing isotopes, scientists were able to show that both iron and copper came from few sources that were traded widely. Starting around 1,000 AD, iron that came from a meteorite found in Cape York, Greenland was used in preference to flaking stone. Much of the copper came from the Coronation Gulf-Coppermine River area along Canada's central Arctic coast. Other metals may have been traded across the Bering Strait. Archeologist Allen McCartney was interviewed for this article.
Intended for grade levels:
  • Intermediate (3-5)
  • Middle (6-8)
  • High (9-12)
  • General public
Type of resource:
  • Text:
    • Report
  • Geographical Sciences:
    • Human geography
  • Geological Sciences:
    • Geochemistry
Technical requirements:
No specific technical requirements, just a browser required
Cost / Copyright:
No cost
Copyright 2001, University of Wisconsin, Board of Regents
DLESE Catalog ID: DLESE-000-000-001-082
Resource contact / Creator / Publisher:
Author: David Tenenbaum
The Why Files

Editor: Terry McDevitt
The Why Files

Contributor: Yael Gen
The Why Files

Contributor: Joe Kallenberger
The Why Files

Contributor: Amy Toburen
The Why Files

Publisher: University of Wisconsin-Madison, Graduate School