Yukon Beringia Centre logo

Kilometre 1423 (Mile 886) on the Alaska Hwy.
Box 2703, Whitehorse Yukon
phone: (867) 667-8855
fax: (867) 667-8854
email: beringia@gov.yk.ca

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Exhibits at the Beringia Centre

Opened in 1997, the Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre is a facility designed to tell the story of Beringia. It began with the recognition that Beringia holds vital information to cultures, landscapes and environments of the past. In 1976, the National Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada designated "Beringia" as a theme of national significance. This theme is now finding expression in the Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre. Featuring dynamic new exhibits, the Centre seeks to introduce a world of woolly mammoths, Jefferson's ground sloths, scimitar cats, giant beavers, steppe tundra and North America's first people. It explores the discovery of fossils, frozen mummified remains and other paleontological and archaeological finds throughout the area. It will trace a history of a time long past that holds a key to many mysteries today. 


The Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre takes advantage of an existing building renovated and enlarged for its specific needs. It includes interactive CD-ROM kiosks, murals and dioramas depicting the Beringia landscape, flora and fauna, a new Beringia film, and lifesize exhibits of animals of the Ice Age.  It introduces you to the world of science that extracts, analyzes and theorizes on this period of prehistoric time. The Centre incorporates lectures, camps and recreations of early archaeological and paleontological sites.  The Centre would not be complete without the inclusion of the First Nations' knowledge and perspective. From their stories of Raven's creation of the world to their oral history and way of life which has its roots in Beringia, we create exhibits depicting life thousands of years ago.


Scimitar Cat (Homotherium serum)


Scimitar Cat

The scimitar cat was one of Beringia's most ferocious predators. The lion-sized meat-eater lived in most of Canada and the United States in the last part of the Ice Age. It preyed on large, thick-skinned plant-eaters, including mammoth and mastodon. Its long canines were used to cut the throat of its prey. Scimitar cats had relatively flat feet compared to their descendants, like the lion or the cheetah. Therefore, these cats probably did not run as quickly as cats of today and they probably preferred quick, sudden attacks to kill their prey. This model gives an idea of what this cat would have looked like. The reconstruction, an "educated guess," is based on the colour of modern day lions and cougar skin tones. To date we have yet to find a frozen carcass of a scimitar cat, although many bones have been recovered.

Thank you to the First Nations People and the Miners

We pay tribute to the placer miners and First Nations people who have helped recover the past. Donations of fossils and assistance provided by the individuals named here contributed to the stories and exhibits portrayed in the Yukon Beringia Interpretive Center. Many of the fossils of Beringia are preserved in permafrost: ground that has been frozen since the Ice Age. Placer miners in Yukon and Alaska remove vast amounts of permafrost to reach the gold-bearing gravels beneath. Many fossils come to light in this way, including skeletons of the mammoth and the steppe bison. In rare cases even frozen carcasses have been found with the skin, muscle and hair preserved.

We are grateful to the many placer miners who have taken care to gather fossils and donate them to our collections. Study and display thus greatly contribute to our understanding of past life in the Yukon.

Lee Olynyk, Lisle Gatenby, The Schmidt Family, Pete Risby, Ron Toews, Jerry Klein, Norm Ross

For more than 30 years, the Vuntut Gwitch’in of Old Crow have guided and assisted scientists in uncovering the Ice Age history of Beringia in the Old Crow area. Impressive fossils continue to emerge from the bluffs along the Old Crow and Porcupine Rivers in northern Yukon, as these rivers slowly cut down through the beds of ancient glacial lakes. Traces of the first people in North America have been found in the northern Yukon. The contributions of the people of Old Crow to studies in that area are gratefully acknowledged here:


Charlie Peter Charlie, Lazarus Charlie, John Joe Kay, Charlie Thomas, Abraham Peter, Peter Lord


Yukon Beringia Interpretive Center


Front Hall

The story of Beringia in the Ice Age is a vital part of Yukon's history. The time of the Ice Age is recalled in First Nations' legends of long-ago giants and the creation of the world from a flooded land. Spectacular fossils found by miners during the Klondike Gold Rush brought Yukon’s past to the world’s attention. Fossils and artifacts found at Old Crow have also become famous. They have helped document the first arrival of people in North America.

The Yukon Beringia Interpretive Center is an introduction to the rich history of Beringia, your first step on a journey to the Ice Age.


Woolly Mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius)


Woolly Mammoth

This specimen, 4 meters high, 3.6 meters long, with tusks 2.4 meters long, is an exact replica of one of the largest mammoth skeletons ever found. The Mammoth steppe, rich in grasses and sage that supported the grazing giants, was the name given to the dry, cold tundra that existed during the Ice Age. The most recent North American mammoth fossils are about 12,000 years old. A dwarf version of the woolly mammoths survived on Wrangel Island, Siberia, until about 4,000 years ago. The woolly mammoth was about the size of a modern Asian elephant and weighed more than three tonnes. The reproduction featured here is based on a complete skeleton found on the Hebior farm in Kenosha Wisconsin.

Mammoths are among the most important Ice Age animals in aboriginal stories. Accounts of attacks by mammoths, as well as trapping and killing these enormous beasts, are told by many Yukon First Nations.


Short-faced Bear (Arctodus simus)


Short-Faced Bear

The largest land predator of the Ice Age, the short-faced bear, stood 1.5 meters tall at the shoulder. A large male might have weighed 700 kilograms, slightly more than a large polar bear. These fierce animals were almost exclusively meat-eaters. Recent research indicates that they probably scavenged more often than they killed their own prey. Giant short-faced bears lived in the Yukon and Alaska from about 44,000 to 20,000 years ago, during the warm period before the advance of the last ice sheet.

The short-faced bear was not closely related to the North American bears of today. Their closest living relative is the spectacled bear of South America.

During the latter part of the Ice Age, they lived nearly everywhere in North America except the southeastern United States. The giant short-faced bear became extinct by about 11,000 years ago. This specimen is based on an Indiana skeleton.


Introduction to Beringia


Beringia Map

Between two continents on the edge of the Arctic lay the ancient place called Beringia. It was a time of ice, giant mammals and the first people.

We live in unusual times. We may think that our climate today is typical but over the past 2 million years, the climate of the northern hemisphere has been dominated by huge ice sheets. During each Ice Age, vast glaciers formed in the Northern Hemisphere, locking up much of the world’s water as ice. Global sea levels dropped as much as 100 – 150 meters as a result, revealing the floor of the Bering Sea and creating a land connection between Alaska and Siberia (shown by the area in green). This land bridge was part of a larger unglaciated area called Beringia.

Glaciers never formed in Beringia because the climate was too dry. Beringia, clothed in the hardy grasses and herbs of the mammoth steppe, was home was home to the giants of the Ice Age: the mammoth, the giant short-faced bear, the steppe bison, and the scimitar cat. At the height of the last great Ice Age, the most successful hunters of all, human beings, entered Beringia from the Siberian steppes, conquering the last frontier for the human species.

Beringia vanished with the end of the last Ice Age. But parts of this lost land can still be found in northern and central Yukon, Alaska and Siberia.


Ages of Beringia

The Ice Age was one of the most recent chapters in the long climatic history of the world. Looking at the geological time scale, this is the Pleistocene Epoch. Beginning approximately two million years ago, continental glaciers formed and receded many times over much of the northern hemisphere, punctuated by warm periods, or interglacials, often tens of thousands of years in duration. During the Pleistocene, glaciers have covered northern North America, Europe, and a small part of Asia. The great ice sheets of North America were the Cordilleran sheet, which spread from the western mountains; and the Laurentide sheet, which spread from centers in the northern Arctic. Mountain glaciers also spread from the Appalachians and other eastern mountains. The last great Ice Age, called the Wisconsinan (or McConnell) in North America, occurred between 70,000 and 10,000 years ago. The Wisconsinan glaciation derives its name from the state of Wisconsin, where evidence of this glaciation is well preserved. Modern patterns of climate and vegetation have become established in the past 10,000 years (in the geological time scale, the Holocene Epoch). Many scientists believe the current warm spell is merely another interglacial period.


Mammoth Tibia

This is a tibia or shin bone from a woolly mammoth, the Ice Age elephant of the northern hemisphere. When you touch the fossil, you can feel that it is very much like fresh bone, even though it is more than 10,000 years old. The reason for this is that it was preserved in permafrost which acts like a freezer.


Glaciers and Landscape

Mountains are especially clear indicators of glaciation. Their jagged profiles show where the glacial ice scraped rock from the mountainside. In areas that were free of ice, mountain silhouettes are rounded from gradual weathering over millions of years.

Although the Whitehorse area was heavily glaciated, the mountains around here are rounded because the soft limestone erodes quickly.

As you travel through the Yukon, look at the different shapes of the mountains and try to tell whether you are in glaciated country or not. Look for large rocks that have come from elsewhere, and are obviously different from the ones around them. They are called "erratics." All erratics have been moved by glacial ice from their original resting places. Where you do not see any erratics, you may be in unglaciated territory.


Strange and Familiar

This exhibit features yesterday's camel, American lion, giant beaver, barren-ground caribou, red fox, collared pika and wolf. The Ice Age animals of Beringia include both strange and familiar creatures. At the end of the Ice Age, some of these animals, like the musk ox, simply moved on to other places. Others, like the wolf, lynx, red fox, caribou, dall sheep, wolverine, collared pika and arctic hare are still here. Lastly, a large group of fauna died off. Many of the animals that typified the Ice Age have disappeared. The woolly mammoth, yesterday's camel, giant beaver, American lion, giant short-faced bear, and scimitar cat all became extinct by 10,000 years ago.

Not all these animals lived in Beringia at the same time. For example, mastodon, giant beaver, and Jefferson’s ground sloth are known to have lived here only between the times of the great ice sheets, when the area was warmer, wetter, and more forested. Other animals such as the saiga antelope are found now only in Asia. It is thought that the saiga lived here only during glacial advances, when it was dry, open, and grassy. In some situations animals rapidly adapted to changes - the steppe bison is a good example. In many cases we are still discovering when and how the animals of Beringia lived, as we slowly piece the Beringian puzzle together.


Jefferson’s Ground Sloth (Megalonyx jeffersoni)


Jefferson's Ground Sloth

This exhibit features a skeleton of one of the strangest animals that lived in Beringia. It was about the size of an ox, 2.5 to 3 meters long and weighed more than a ton. Giant sloths were plant-eaters, and their teeth were long, flattened pegs with ridges. Their curved front claws allowed them to hook down high leafy tree branches.

One of several species of sloths that lived in the Western Hemisphere, this one was named to honour President Thomas Jefferson, who was one of North America's first paleontologists. Giant ground sloths originated in South America and moved into North America about 5 million years ago. This sloth is known from Yukon and Alaska fossils 150,000 to 130,000 years old, apparently dating from the time before the Wisconsinan glaciation. This was a warm period when much of Beringia was forested, unlike the mammoth steppe environment featured in most of these exhibits. In the Yukon, giant sloth fossils have been found at Old Crow but not in the Dawson City area. Farther south, in the USA, Jefferson’s ground sloth lived until about 9,400 years ago.


Living on the Land

Traditional hunting and land-based activities of First Nations people are featured in this display. A nearby panel shows the late Old Crow elder Sarah Abel scraping a hide. We understand some of the daily routine of human life in ancient Beringia by studying Yukon First Nations’ traditions. For more than 20,000 years, people have moved with the cycles of the season and the migrations of the animals. Since the Ice Age, caribou have been the principal species pursued by the hunters of the northern Yukon. In a climate where even simple agriculture was impossible, the skills needed to sustain human existence were still being employed earlier this century.


The Winter Campsite

This diorama shows a First Nations family in a traditional skin tent, surrounded by ice, snow, and wolves. Many traditions of the north remained unchanged. On the Mammoth steppe of Beringia or the boreal forests of the Yukon, the keys to survival were warm clothing, frequent travel, and a detailed knowledge of the landscape and animal seasonal patterns. Winter camps, such as this one, may not have changed in basic design for many thousands of years. They were designed for portability and warmth, if not entirely for comfort (First Nation elders still recall how smoky these hide tents could get!). In the long, dark winter months these camps, were the places where people planned the next hunt, repaired their equipment, shared meals and took part in storytelling. The oral stories were passed on from generation to generation and entertained, instructed and recorded critical knowledge for survival in a difficult land.


Theater Marquee

The four photos shown here give an idea of the diversity of the Yukon Territory. From caribou to gold mining, the Yukon has it all.


Beringian Sites

Traces of Beringia persist in the Yukon landscape, giving us glimpses of the distant past. Landscape features may have legendary associations to the Ice Age. Geological processes that were common in the Ice Age can still be seen in portions of the Yukon and in a number of communities. Interpretive centres and museums tell us more about the history of First Nations and the Yukon in general. As you journey around the Yukon, each site has a story to tell.

Old Crow
Extensive deposits dating to the Ice Age are exposed in the bluffs along the Old Crow and Porcupine Rivers. They include some of the most complete and well-preserved animals of the Beringian period in North America. Vuntut Gwitch’in legends tell of mammoth that used to live in the ground around Old Crow. According to the legend, when the animals were nearing death, they pushed through the ground to reach the river. This is why the bones of these animals are found washing out of the bluffs along the river.
The oldest remains of caribou in the world, dated to 1.6 million years ago, were found in the bluffs opposite Fort Selkirk. Bones of late Ice Age species have also been found near the mouth of the Pelly River.

Beaver Creek
Upper Tanana people tell stories of their ancestors hunting mammoth long ago. Significant palaeontological deposits were found during reconstruction of the Alaska highway near Beaver Creek. A horse bone from one site was dated to 20,000 years ago. One of the oldest known archaeological sites in southern Yukon, dated to 10,000 years ago, is at Moose Lake, just South of Beaver Creek.

Chuu Tsanh Njik (Engineer Creek)
Where Red Creek flows in. It was here that Willow Man killed the giant beaver that once lived in this area. This may be why the creek is all red. Km 168, Dempster Highway.

Chii Doh Deeh Beaver House Mountain.
This is the second or smaller house of the giant beaver that once lived in this area. Km 216, Dempster Highway.
This is the main house of the Giant Beaver that once lived in this area. The beaver is said to have blocked the Ogilvie River at some time in the past, as demonstrated by the rock slides which have almost blocked off the Ogilvie River channel here. Km 224, Dempster Highway.

Bluefish Caves
Dated at 24,000 years old, traces of human presence in the Caves are the oldest currently known in the New World. The caves have also yielded significant deposits spanning the late Ice Age period, between 24,000 and 11,000 years ago. Don’t miss the Bluefish Cave Diorama in the exhibit hall.

Herschel Island
Bones of Ice Age species are found occasionally eroding out of exposures on Herschel Island. Horse bone is dated here to 36,000 years ago, walrus bone is dated to 45,000 years ago, and a bison bone from Arctic Beach dates to older than 47,000 years ago. Recently a Saiga bone was found at the Island. It has yet to be dated.

Rock River (Chii Deetak) crossing of the Dempster Highway.
The red area seen on the exposed bluffs in the distance is an ochre deposit. This is said to be the remains of Ch’itahùukaii’s campfire, where he stopped after crossing the Richardson Mountains. Ch’itahùukaii is the Gwitch’in culture hero who was responsible for "fixing" all the giant animals of long ago so that they became the species we know today.

Tombstone Campground
This site features a Yukon Government Interpretive Centre, Beringian landscapes and significant concentration of archaeological sites.

Dawson
A great number of fossils are found in the placer mining areas near Dawson. Most of them come from near the base of the frozen "muck" that overlies the gold-bearing gravels. At the turn of the century, the KoYukon of the lower Yukon River recounted that the souls of the dead journeyed upriver to the place that the town of Dawson is today. There they waited to be reborn. In the afterworld, they continued much as they had in life, hunting and fishing. The animals they hunted were called the "Underground Game" and their bones can be seen all around Dawson. These are the fossil remains of the Ice Age animals of this country. Don’t forget to visit the Dawson City Museum and their impressive geology exhibit of the region.

Carmacks
According to Legend, a mammoth was killed at Frenchman Lake (Lutthi Män) many years ago. Little Salmon and Carmacks First Nations elders tell us that, when they were children, mammoth bones could still be seen in the lake. Be sure to visit the Little Salmon and Carmacks First Nations Interpretive Center.

Mount Freegold
Significant palaeontological deposits are being uncovered in placer mines in this region.

Carcross Desert
During the last Ice Age, when dry and windy conditions prevailed, active sand dunes were a common feature of the landscape. An example of these once extensive dune fields can be found in the Carcross Desert.

Ross River
Remnant grasslands are a feature of the area around Ross River. Grasslands were formerly more extensive and supported herds of bison until about 200 years ago. The Tlingit name for "Ross River," Xão Hini, translates as "Buffalo River," preserving the memory of bison in the area, one of the last echoes of the Ice Age species.

Watson Lake Kaska people from Watson Lake tell stories of long-ago encounters with mammoth near the headwaters of the Liard River and on a cliff of the Hyland River. One story describes a mammoth that was frozen in the ice of Watson Lake as it chased people onto an island. The word for mammoth in Kaska is negutih.

Teslin
The George Johnston Museum features the life of the First Nation people in the Teslin region. Be sure to see the history of the First Nation leader George Johnston and his car on exhibit at the museum.

Whitehorse
The MacBride Museum, Old Log Church Museum, and Yukon Transportation Museum are wonderful attractions in Whitehorse which collectively help to explain our heritage. The MacBride Museum has a small display on Beringian history, including the mounted skeleton of a giant beaver. The Old Log Church Museum has a fine collection of ethnographical material, while the Yukon Transportation Museum preserves Yukon’s transportation history from skin boats to aircrafts.

Champagne
First Nations traditional village and Kwäday Dan Kenji, "Long Ago Peoples’ Place."

Burwash Landing
The Kluane Museum of Natural History has a small collection and exhibit on the Ice Age along with many dioramas of animals currently found in the Yukon.

Keno
Keno City Mining Museum - local fossil collections are on display, along with the history of silver mining in the Yukon.



Finding Fossils

Traces of Beringia are uncovered in many different ways. The bones of Ice Age animals may be exposed when a river cuts into a bank or when soils are stripped away by earth-moving equipment. For generations, the native people of northern Yukon have helped researchers locate some of the most important Ice Age discoveries. Placer miners in the Klondike region also find rich deposits of fossils many meters below the surface when they dig down to reach the gold-bearing gravels. Since the Klondike Gold Rush, placer miners have found not just bones but even the frozen carcasses of long-extinct animals. Occasionally, Pleistocene bones may still display the cut marks of ancient stone tools, evidence of early people.

Discoveries of fossils and artifacts provide a key to unlocking the mysteries of the past. Evidence unearthed includes stone tools, old camping or hunting sites, pollen, plant and animal fossils. Many placer miners are visited each year by the Yukon paleontologist, who examines the season’s fossil collections. If you accidentally find a fossil or artifact, you must report the discovery to the Yukon Heritage Branch and to the local First Nation (if the discovery is made on their lands). Your cooperation could help answer such fundamental questions as when the first people arrived in the New World. Staff at the Centre can assist you in contacting the proper authorities.


The Sciences at Work

How could the ecosystem of Beringia have been so productive during an Ice Age? How can we hope to understand this distant time and land?

Much of what we know of Beringia results from the work of numerous researchers. Scientists find traces of the past preserved in fossil pollen, bones, insect remains and stone tools. These remains also help us reconstruct the climate and habitat of this unique Ice Age world. Landscape features tell us about glaciers and glacial lakes. Soils contain evidence of precipitation, temperature and living things.

Yukon First Nations have also made important contributions to the study of this ancient world. Their detailed knowledge of the landscape and oral traditions extends back over many generations, assisting scientists in putting the Beringian puzzle together.


Saiga Antelope (Saiga tatarica)


Saiga Antelope

The saiga are small, light (26-32kg), swift animals capable of speeds upwards of 70 km/hour. Saigas are presently confined to Central Asia, but in the past their range spread westward to England and eastward to Baille Island, Northwest Territories. This species survives in dry, steppe-like grasslands such as Beringia. Saiga antelope were probably here only during the driest, coldest parts of the last glaciation. Their odd snouts allow them to breathe efficiently in arid, dusty conditions, an excellent adaptation to the fine wind-borne loess common in Beringia. Females lack horns, whereas males have spindly, ringed horns. Fossil specimens of saiga have been recovered from a 13,000-year-old deposit at the Bluefish Caves.


Ice Wall

The Ice Corridor reveals the sounds and sights of the glaciers that formed the borders of Beringia. Beringia was hemmed in by glaciers in Yukon, Alaska and much of Asia. The present-day ice fields of the St. Elias Range are the remnants of the glaciers that covered most of North America more than 10,000 years ago.

Ice in glaciers is usually full of rocks and dust. Glaciers have a distinctive blue-green color caused by the compression of air, as snow is formed into ice.


Steppe bison

Steppe Bison

Steppe bison ranged throughout northern Europe, Asia and Beringia during the Ice Age. This species lived throughout Beringia during the last 700,000 years and was one of the most widespread and most hunted animals in this region. It appeared in only a few scattered places in the rest of western North America. Rather than becoming extinct, the steppe bison adapted by evolving into the wood and plains bison of today. The most recent known fossils are about 8000 years old.

We know that steppe bison ate mostly grasses, because of the plant fossils and pollen preserved in their carcasses. The most famous frozen carcass found was "Blue Babe", a large male steppe bison. Now on display at the University of Alaska Museum, Fairbanks, Blue Babe is about 31,000 years old and is typical of the preservation of frozen Ice Age carcasses in Beringia. The animal was killed by American lions and cooled rapidly as the killers ate. The remains froze within a short time and were preserved by burial in mud, which eventually became permafrost. Like many remarkable Beringian fossils, Blue Babe was discovered by placer miners.


Unglaciated Landscape

Photomural
The photomural above the bison shows the unglaciated Richardson Mountains as seen looking east from the Dempster Highway, just north of the Arctic Circle.


Snowy Owl (Nyctea scandia)

High above your head circles the snowy owl. This bird prefers open, unprotected regions, where wind and cold may be severe. Today the snowy owl breeds in the Arctic and winters south of the Arctic Circle.


Beringia Interactive Map

This relief map shows how glaciers advanced several times within the last two million years, lowering sea levels and creating Beringia. The sound and light show activates automatically to explain the advance and retreat of glaciers and the fall and rise of sea level. Places important to Beringia can be discovered by pressing buttons on the railing. Glaciers have advanced several times within the last 3 million years, lowering sea levels and leaving Beringia as a continuous subcontinent.


Glaciated Landscape Photomural

The large photomural shows the glaciated St. Elias Range of the southwestern Yukon, near Mount Logan, Canada's highest peak.


Climate of Beringia

Most of Beringia, from the central Yukon west through Alaska and Siberia, was covered by dry grasslands. This "mammoth steppe" continued even farther west, through southern Europe all the way to the Atlantic Ocean. During the last ice age, Beringia remained ice-free because it was too dry for glaciers to develop. Several factors were important in maintaining this unique Beringian environment.

Ice fields formed the edges of Beringia in the Yukon and Alaska. Rain and snow tended to fall near the glaciers and a "rain shadow" formed on their inland side. Today the same effect builds the icefields of the St. Elias range and makes the rest of southwestern Yukon extremely dry.

Even where there were no glaciers, high mountains from Yukon to central Asia caused a rain shadow. The forests that thrive here today could not grow with so little moisture. Grasses were abundant but large areas of ground were bare. The warm brown soil was heated directly by the sun and extremely light snow cover in winter allowed grazing animals to thrive year round.


North American Short-faced Bear Diorama

North American Short-faced Bear

This giant short-faced bear has just chased two wolves away from their kill, a steppe bison calf. As the bear eats, the wolves wait, hoping to get back to their prey. The giant short-faced bear was the largest and perhaps the fiercest of the Ice Age land carnivores of North America. It appears to have specialized in scavenging, driving other predators away from their fresh kill.


Flora of Beringia

Plants of Beringia included the herbs, grasses and dwarf trees of the mammoth steppe, but plant communities varied according to local conditions of moisture and elevation. The closest present day comparison to Beringian grasslands can be found in the southern and central Yukon on steppe, treeless, south-facing slopes. Although dominated by the herbs and grasses of the mammoth steppe, the vegetation of Ice Age Beringia was a mosaic of different plants.

We learn about the vegetation of Beringia by studying preserved pollen and the remains of the plants themselves. They are often found frozen in glacial mucks and lake bottoms and even in the stomachs of mummified Ice Age animals, such as mammoth and bison. In some instances, preservation of the remains is remarkable. Scientists have been able to germinate and grow healthy plants from 10,000-year-old lupine seeds that were recovered from a prehistoric lemming nest found in the Sixty Mile River area of the Klondike.

An analysis of the stomach contents from mammoths and other research indicates that the following plants were in existence during the Beringian period: mammoth steppe vegetation, comprised of grasses mixed with a variety of herbs, covered large areas of Beringia, including most of the land bridge.

>Contained in the terrarium are the above indigenous seeds and plants. You will also recognize these plants as you travel the Yukon.


Arctic Ground Squirrel (Spermophilus parryi)

Rodents like the Arctic ground squirrel were as numerous then as they are today. This exhibit includes a mummified curled-up squirrel that is about 47,000 years old. It was apparently frozen in its burrow and preserved in permafrost since the Ice Age, at Sixty Mile River, near Dawson. This frozen preservation of carcasses is a distinctive Beringian occurrence. In most places, soft tissues are not preserved because animals are destroyed by scavengers or rot away before their remains can be buried and protected. The specimen is on loan from the Canadian Museum of Nature, Ottawa. Arctic ground squirrels were a vital element of the Beringian food chain. They fed on seeds and shoots and provided food for large mammals, including humans and birds.


Beringia Mini-diorama

Wolves

This typical Ice Age scene shows many of the animals that lived in the Yukon and Alaska during the Ice Age. Animals in the exhibit include: arctic ground squirrel (Spermophilus parryi), arctic hare (Lepus arcticus), steppe bison (Bison priscus), yesterday’s camel (Camelops hesternus), Yukon wild horse (Equus lambei), Jefferson’s ground sloth (Megalonyx jeffersoni), human (Homo sapiens), lynx (Lynx canadensis), woolly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius), saiga (Saiga tatarica), scimitar cat (Homotherium serum), short-faced bear (Arctodus simus) and dall sheep (Ovis dalli).

Beringia was truly a land of Ice Age monsters. The biggest grazers and their most fearsome predators were far larger than any mammals that live in this area today. A surprising variety of animals lived here in ancient times, although not all of them inhabited Beringia at the same time. Beringia’s environment was extremely productive, despite the northern location and harsh climate. Mammoths, steppe bison and horses lived in the north throughout the Ice Age. Caribou evolved in Beringia and have lived in both North America and Asia for nearly 2 million years.

Fossils of Jefferson’s ground sloths have been found in the Yukon and Alaska that are 150,000 to 130,000 years old, apparently dating from the time between the Illinoian and Wisconsinan glaciations. Giant short-faced bears lived in the Yukon and Alaska from about 44,000 years ago to 20,000 years ago, just before and during the last glacial advance.


The First People

Beringia is believed to be the point-of-entry into the New World - the last continental land mass to be colonized by humanity. The expansion of human populations into Eastern Beringia occurred during what archaeologists call the Upper Paleolithic (Late Stone Age). This period of human history, between about 40,000 and 10,000 years ago, corresponds to the emergence of fully modern human beings (Homo sapiens sapiens).

The ability of humans to adapt to the mammoth steppe was based in a series of cultural and technological innovations of the Upper Paleolithic period. Of paramount importance was the development of advanced social organization, facilitating communication of ideas and knowledge between small and widely dispersed groups. The sophisticated art forms of the Paleolithic are, in essence, symbolic communication. Storytelling traditions matured as well, as a means to encode vital information. The myths and legends of many First Nations cultures today are rich in critical knowledge pertaining to landscape, animal resources, survival techniques and social etiquette.

Technologies that are hallmarks of the Eurasian - Beringia Upper Paleolithic include tailored clothing, techniques of food processing, preservation, and storage, dwellings, control of fire, hunting techniques, including game surrounds and drives, and fishing. Tool kits may contain many types of stone and bone implements reflecting innovative trends such as miniaturization and standardization. These cultural and technological traits reflected in the archaeological record provide us with an appreciation of the achievement of these Ice Age, Upper Paleolithic Beringians who were also the First Americans.

Crafted more than 20,000 years ago these little sculptures, known as Venus figurines, have been found in numerous Ice Age sites of Western, Central, and Eastern Europe, and as far as the eastern limits of Central Siberia.

Preserved in cave paintings of the Late Ice Age is a reflection of the intimate relationship between human hunters and the fauna of the Eurasian Mammoth steppe Biome. Cave paintings are best known from Western Europe; their absence from Siberia and Beringia is likely a reflection of poor preservation factors.

Discovered in a site located on the east bank of the Yenesei River in Central Siberia, and dated at about 18,000 years ago, tools like these are representative of increasing technological sophistication characteristic of the Upper Paleolithic. These tools are composite implements made of antler, bone, or ivory, whose cutting edges were created by inserting into fine grooves, a series of chert or flint microblades.

Also suggestive of long distance Eurasian contacts, small sculptures like these have been found as far East as Lake Baikal, in Siberia. Dating back to 24,000 years ago, they consist in great part of small human (mostly female) representations, miniature carvings of birds, reminiscent of the much later Palaeoeskimo art of the Canadian Arctic, and a variety of decorative pendants. Particularly tantalizing is the fact that some of the human figurines show details of the kind of clothing that was worn by these Ice Age hunters and gatherers of eastern Eurasia.

Human survival along the northern edge of the Ice Age Mammoth steppe Biome depended very much on the ability to build appropriate winter shelters. Evidence for such habitation structures, in some cases made with mammoth bone supports (akin to whalebone structures of the later Thule Eskimo groups), have been found primarily in the Eastern European portion of the Mammoth steppe Biome.

The Berelekh Mammoth engraving, as it is called, dates back to the end of the Ice Age (a bit prior to 10,000 years ago), and corresponds to the northeastern most Siberian echo of the complex and lengthy artistic tradition that reflected some of the faunal realties of the Eurasian Mammoth steppe Biome.

Archaeologists have discovered that the bearers of the late Ice Age microblade/burin technology were not alone in Eastern Beringia and early on there existed a fair degree of technological diversity along the eastern reaches of the Mammoth steppe Biome. There were indeed other First American groups, whose Siberian origins remain obscure, and whose known distribution ranges from Central Interior Alaska to the northern Ogilvie Mountains in the Yukon. Called Nenana, after the locations of the first sites found in Alaska, these groups were characterized by a very different technology consisting of large core-tools and scrapers, large blades, bifaces, finely fashioned triangular points, and a variety of ivory implements.

These are drawings of some of the Bluefish caves artifacts, among the oldest ones of this type ever found in the New World. Labeled American paleoarctic or Dyuktai (for their Siberian counterparts), they date to at least 13,000 years ago, and are characteristic of the miniaturized microblade and burin technology that, in the last millennia of the Ice Age, extended from Central Siberia and Mongolia to eastern Beringia, in the Northern Yukon. As in the case of the Siberian composite tools, the microblades were likely used as insets, and the burin, to work bone, antler and ivory and, possibly, create small figurines.


Bluefish Caves

Bluefish Caves

This exhibit is a recreation of a major archaeological site in the northern Yukon, the most important site in North America. Evidence found in the caves in the 1970s and 80s indicates it was visited intermittently over the last 15,000 - 25,000 years. The exhibit shows First Nation hunters butchering a caribou.

The three small Bluefish Caves are located in the northern Yukon, 50 km southwest of Old Crow. They occur at the base of a limestone bedrock ridge, along the mid-course of the Bluefish River, about 200m above the valley floor.

The scene depicted in the diorama is based on the results of six seasons of excavation at Bluefish Caves. Pollen, animal bones, soil deposition, radiocarbon dates and cultural remains have all been used to develop an interpretation of the scene you see here.

Evidence gathered so far indicates that over a period of about 15,000 years, the Bluefish Caves were visited repeatedly for short periods of time by small hunting parties.

The landscape scene in the background shows fall vegetation typical of this time period. Gallery forests of stunted poplar and willow line the river, grasses and herbs of the mammoth steppe are present on drier and more elevated slopes.

A small group of caribou lingers near the cave. Suspended in the air, is a thin veil of wind-blown dust or loess originating from the Old Crow and Bluefish Basins situated to the north.

Then, as now, caribou was an important animal for human survival. In this scene, one member of the hunting party butchers the caribou with a stone knife.

The man kneeling at the mouth of the cave is in the process of striking flakes from a mammoth limb bone. Such flakes obtained from the thick-walled mammoth bone were tools-of-the-moment that could be used butchering and skin scraping.

The clothing worn by the figures is based on Gwitch’in clothing designs of the mid-nineteenth century. These well-made outfits likely represent a basic design for warmth and freedom of movement that has not changed significantly since the last Ice Age.

The bone fragments scattered at the cave mouth are signs of perhaps earlier visits by other hunters or the presence of animal predators and scavengers, who also used these rock shelters and at times competed with the human hunters for food.


Yukon Wild Horse (Equus lambei)

Yukon Wild Horse

A partial carcass of a small extinct Yukon horse was found by placer miners Lee Olynyk and Ron Toews in September 1993 on Last Chance Creek near Dawson City. It is the best preserved carcass of one of the larger Ice Age mammals found in Canada. Most of the right foreleg with dried flesh, skin and hair on the lower parts, and a large part of the hide with long blondish mane, were found intact. Studies to date show that the horse was a large adult, and that its hair ranged from blackish-brown above the hoof, through chestnut, to blondish on the mane. The hide is currently at the Canadian Conservation Institute in Ottawa being stabilized. Recent analysis of bone submitted for radiocarbon dating indicates that the horse died about 26,000 years ago during a relatively warm period before the peak of the last glaciation. Preserved DNA from the horse carcass demonstrates that the Yukon wild horse is closely related to the modern horse. These horses roamed in large herds across the steppe-like grasslands of northwestern North America during the last half of the Ice Age. The species died out about 10,000 years ago. With this find our knowledge of the species increased greatly and another piece of the Beringian puzzle fit together.


Bluefish Caves Dig

This exhibit illustrates the research being done at the Bluefish Caves led by archaeologist Jacques Cinq-Mars of the Archaeological Survey of Canada, Canadian Museum of Civilization, Hull, Quebec.

Although the soil layers at Bluefish Caves are little more than a meter thick, they preserve a record of events and past environments spanning approximately 24,000 years. The sediment layers or stratigraphy exposed in the excavations have provided information which has allowed scientists to reconstruct the history of the caves in surprising detail. The sediments themselves are revealing of past environments. Basal layers, resting on bedrock are wind blown silts or loess, carried on the strong and persistent winds of the glacial maximum from the lightly vegetated floodplain of the Bluefish River valley, 600m below. Sediment layers above the loess reflect a markedly different depositional regime and climate. Sediments are more organic in nature, and increasingly, pieces of limestone rubble, spilled off from the cave walls, are present in the soil matrix, reflecting the warmer, wetter conditions of post-glacial times.

Preserved within the sediments are the remains of past vegetation and the bones of the Ice Age animals that once roamed this landscape. Pollen and plant remains of the loess layers in the caves reflect a vegetative cover dominated by grasses and herbs, the typical vegetation of the glacial maximum. The organic rubble layers above preserve a sequence marked first by a rise in shrub birch, followed by spruce, as forests once again moved into the northern Yukon as temperature and rainfall increased at the end of the Ice Age.

The bones of animals in the loess layer are principally those of Ice Age species: horse, bison, mammoth, wapiti, saiga antelope, and caribou. Dates on a horse femur, a mammoth scapula and a mammoth limb bone provided dates of 13,000, 15,500 and 24,000 years before present, indicating use of the cave by both animals and people spanned the last millennia of the glacial period. Meticulous microscopic examination of the bone from Bluefish Caves has revealed butchering and cut marks on bone, including the bone of mammoth, caribou, and horse. There is no sign of human use of the cave after the end of glaciation.

The Bluefish Caves are located at the foot of an isolated limestone ridge complex, overlooking the north-flowing Bluefish River, just a few kilometers east of the Alaskan border.

A great deal of research effort goes into reconstructing ancient Beringian environments and life ways. Here are a few examples taken from both field and laboratory studies of the Bluefish Caves.

Bluefish Cave II
This is a photograph of south-facing Bluefish Cave II, taken from a helicopter during the 1983 excavations. North-facing Cave I is located to the left, just around the side of the bedrock ridge. The view corresponds to the view presented in the model.

Bluefish Cave II Deposit
The stratigraphy or soil layers found at the Bluefish Caves reflects environmental events over the past 25,000 years. Lying on bedrock, the lowermost layer (Unit 1) consists of wind-blown silt or loess that has accumulated slowly between 25,000 and 10,000 years ago. At this level are found the Ice Age animal remains together with traces of human presence. Overlying Unit 1 are sediments from the last 10,000 years (Unit 2), mostly humus and limestone rubble, which reflect warmer, moister conditions since the end of the Ice Age.

The Bluefish Caves have yielded a rich assemblage of ancient Ice Age animal remains. In addition to the ones illustrated here, many smaller carnivores, rodents, birds and fish were found. The study of such remains can tell us much about past environments.

Ancient Environments
Palynology, the study of ancient pollens, can be used to reconstruct past Beringian vegetation and climate. Based on samples obtained from Bluefish Cave II, this diagram tells us about the changes that occurred 25,000 years ago. The lower zone (I-yellow) dates to between 25,000 and 13,000 years ago. The vegetation represented is that of a treeless, herb-rich tundra habitat that supported the Ice Age fauna. The middle zone (II-orange) marks a change towards a more humid climate and vegetation, and sees the rise of birch pollen. The upper zone (III-green) corresponds to the end of the Ice Age and shows the establishment, at about 10,000 years ago, of the spruce forests that are found today around the Bluefish Caves.

Bone Bed
Vast quantities of Ice Age animals were found in the Bluefish Cave deposits. While many of these bones probably represent natural accumulation, others were left there by human hunters between 25,000 and 10,000 years ago.

Cut Bones
The careful study of bones from the Bluefish Caves can also reveal traces of ancient human activity. Cut marks, such as those on a caribou leg bone, are evidence of butchering with stone tools. The caribou bone has been radiocarbon dated to 12,000 years ago.

Recording Information
Keeping detailed photographic records, maps and field notes is essential to any archaeological excavation. This is a photo of the mammoth bone core when it was first uncovered at the base of Bluefish Cave II deposit.

Mammoth Bone Core and Flake
The mammoth bone core and flake recovered at Bluefish Cave II is dated to 24,000 years ago. These artifacts are the earliest in situ or "in place" evidence of human activity ever found in Beringia. Bone flakes were struck from the mammoth leg bone fragment and were used as cutting or scraping tools. Shown here is one such flake refitted on to the face of the bone core. The use of bone for tools may be a result of the scarcity of suitable stone for making stone tools in the limestone country around the Bluefish Caves. This find has helped make the Bluefish Caves one of the most important archeological sites in the Americas.

Stone Tools
Hunters who visited the Bluefish Caves thousands of years ago had to bring with them the chert and other fine grained stone needed for their tools and implements. The sample illustrated here includes microblades, microblade cores and burins. Microblades are small, thin stone blades used as insets in bone and antler pieces. Set in a series in a groove, microblade insets formed the cutting or piercing edges of knives or spear points. Burins were used in the whittling or shaving of bone, antler and ivory.


The End of Beringia

The end of the Ice Age began about 14,000 years ago as the climate became warmer. Sea levels rose with the melting glaciers and low lying regions, including central Beringia, were flooded. Forests were reintroduced as precipitation increased. The nutritious grasslands of the mammoth steppe disappeared and with them the herds of specialized grazing animals such as mammoth, horse and steppe bison, as well as the predators which fed on them. About 14,000 years ago, the climate slowly became warmer. Glaciers in the Northern Hemisphere began to thaw, releasing immense quantities of melt water. Sea levels rose all over the world and low-lying regions, including central Beringia, were flooded. As it became warmer, precipitation increased. Peat moss and small trees began to grow. This re-introduction of forests caused a sharp decline in the productivity of Beringia. The nutritious grasslands of the mammoth steppe disappeared, and with them the herds of specialized grazing animals such as mammoth, horse and steppe bison. Their predators, the giant short-faced bear, lion, scimitar cat and dire wolf also vanished. With the end of the Ice Age, Beringia and the giants that once roamed there survive only in legend and deep in the frozen ground. The end of the Ice Age was a time of catastrophic change. As the glaciers melted, vast areas were flooded.


Legends of Beringia – The Traveler Story Mural

First Nations creation stories echo events at the end of the Ice Age. Legends, such as How Crow Created the World, reflect on the changing environment and the great floods. Distant memories of the animals of the Ice Age come down to us in stories of the Gwitch’in culture hero, Traveler (Ch’itahùukaii) and the Tutchone hero, Beaver Man (Soh Jhee or Asuya ). Traveller and Beaver Man roamed the land and changed the animals of long ago from giants and man-eaters to the familiar species we see in the Yukon today.


Crow Creation Story Panel

Crow Creation Panel

As temperatures warmed at the end of the Ice Age, massive amounts of melt water were released from the rapidly retreating glaciers on the edge of Beringia.

According to myth, it was from this flooded land that the creator, Crow, made the world we see today. At the beginning of the world, the Gwitch’in culture hero, Ch’itahùukaii, the Traveller, and the Tutchone hero, Soh Jhee or Asuya (Beaver Man), journeyed across the land to change the animals from giants and man-eaters to the familiar species of today. Perhaps these stories recall distant memories of the Ice Age megafauna and giant predators of the Beringian landscape.


The Artists Behind Beringia

Many exhibits in the Beringia Interpretive Centre were made by Yukon artists and crafts people. There are some individual contributions as well as a lot of team effort. Some teams were made up totally of Yukoners, others from outside or a combination. Many Yukoners had to alter their primary functions to accommodate the contracts they were successful in acquiring. Some were able to take on the new work as part of their regular employment.

The first thing we see are large woolly mammoths which cause tourists to screech to a halt on the highway as they make their way up the Alaska Highway. These beasts were originally designed by Doug Watson of Watson Sculptures & Models for the Canadian Museum of Nature. They were constructed of polyester resin, reinforced with glass fiber were produced and installed by Peter May and his company, Research Casting International, of Ontario. The one with the broken tusk is a replica of an actual animal found in the Yukon and yes, the tusk was broken when found.

The next item you meet on your way to the building is the giant beaver, again originally designed by Doug Watson and purchased in its present form from the Canadian Museum of Nature. The large skeletons which greet you when you enter the building were produced and mounted by a company called PAST (Prehistoric Animal Structures) in Alberta. The large woolly mammoth replica was cast in co-operation with the Museum in Wisconsin from whence came the original skeleton.

Once in the Exhibit Hall, you really have to look to find non-Yukon produced elements. Following are the pieces produced by artists not from the Yukon. The Ground Squirrel and mini diorama were designed and created by Gord Prokopetz with the background by Wei Lee from Saskatchewan. Paul Geraghty painted the background and rocks for the Bluefish Caves diorama. Doug Taylor prepared the winter camp scene (including the background). Jan and Deborah Vriesen created the giant sloth and painted the background for the horse exhibit. Ron Klein provided the panoramic photographs of ice fields and mountains, as well, photographs by Jacques Cinq-Mars were obtained through the Canadian Museum of Civilization.

Yukon artists and crafts people’s contributions are no less astounding. For example, the giant short-faced bear diorama was a team effort which combined the work of four artists. Lillian Loponen painted the background, Dale Rudd created the bear and produced the taxidermy of the bison calf, Tony Grabowski prepared the wolves and ptarmigan taxidermy and Wayne Mitchell (from Saskatchewan) created and installed the foreground. The giant short-faced bear was reconstructed by looking at actual skeletons for form and modern animals for the musculature. Many grizzly fur pelts were used for this model. The wolves are actual modern animals because they have not changed much from Beringian times.

Another team, who worked hard for an impressive result, were the people who constructed the Bluefish Cave. Frank Jurak and his crew spent many hours constructing the actual replica of the cave including creating the rocks from gypsum cement, reinforced with glass fiber. Janet Moore and David Ashley created the human figures you see in action in front of the cave and Tony Grabowski prepared the caribou on which they are working. Florence Springgay and Dorothy Profeit sewed the parkas and Johane Maisonneuve, Violet Johnny, Eva Billy, May Roberts and Grace Wheeler sewed the clothing.

There are other models, small and large which were produced by Yukon artists. Following specific size requirements which would provide a perspective in the completed landscape, Mike Camp prepared the scale model animals for the mini-diorama. Chuck Buchanan created the life-sized model scimitar cat that greets visitors at the entrance. This cat was made by studying an actual cast form and using a shaggy lion pelt to give a real life appearance.

George Teichmann was contracted to paint the Beringia panorama and paintings of ancient animals while a painting by Halin de Repentigny shows an example of a family group travelling. There are a number of exhibits which include exquisite photographs. The Yukon photographers were Norman Barichello and Richard Hartmier.

Throughout the Centre you can find many pen and ink illustrations. Sabine Adams, Catherine Deer, Lorant Karnis and Jennie Lamont all were responsible for these images. Another feature of the facility as you wander through the exhibits, is the audio accompaniment you can hear in the background all produced by Matthew Lien of Whispering Willows Records.

The film which is presented every 45 minutes, was produced by Logan Video. The team included Daniel Janke who created the music and Steve Shepherd who provided the pen and ink illustrations. The music of Jerry Alfred and the Medicine Beat was licenced for this presentation.

Each of the contracts which made the Beringia Centre possible, was a commercial contract, acquired through public tendor. This is somewhat different from the public art competition process used to acquire the three works of art. A public art competition is a much more subjective process. A group of individuals looks at artists’ proposals to interpret, in this case, specific legends and the group selects the proposal which they feel is the best work of art. This committee made up of government and non-government experts reviews all the submissions and selects the pieces which may not necessarily even be the best interpretation of the legend, they are however, the best works of art.

The public tender process uses only government experts to review the submissions. In the case of the Beringia Centre, the best artistic interpretation was part of the criterion and any business was eligible to bid. These two processes are quite different. The similarity between them is that, in the end, artists received employment and contributed to the Centre in a meaningful way.


Biography of the Artists

We are proud of the many local artists who have contributed to the telling of the Beringia story.

Halin de Repentigny: was born in Montreal and raised in the Gaspé, de Repentigny is of French Canadian and Mohawk descent. He has always had a great love for the back country, beginning a trapping career at the age of 14. When he is not busy with trapping, hunting, fishing and running dogs, he spends his time portraying his lifestyle through his paintings. Halin created the Living on the Land canvas painting in the Great Hall and the story mural of Ch’itahùukaii in the Exhibit Hall.


Keith Wolfe Smarch: designed and created the Crow Creation Story Panel and was a part of the trio that created the Traveller/Crow Creation Sculpture. Keith is of aboriginal and German parents, was born into the Wolf clan of the Tlingit Nation, in Whitehorse, in 1961. His aboriginal name, Shuk-kaa-koon, means Mountain Bird.

Smarch began carving in 1981, studying with Dempsey Bob, a respected, traditional, aboriginal carver of the Pacific North-West. Through his carvings, Smarch has developed his Tlingit identity.

"A great part of being a Native artist is the spiritual ties to the sacred existence and relationships that are the core of native survival. This relationship of respect developed our knowledge, our culture and our superior skills of survival as a nation. Our relationship to the environment has evolved a very distinct artistic expression."

In 1988, Smarch traveled to the Toyama province of Japan. There he studied under Haruki Fujii, a well known Japanese sculptor, working in wood and bronze. Fujii’s expertise also includes painting and drawing. During his 3 month study, Smarch found his outlook on life in general was influenced by Japanese society but few changes occurred with his traditional style. The experience greatly enhanced his techniques especially regarding the carving of heads and faces due mainly to the fact that the Japanese create many masks for their plays, music and other cultural activities. We see these influences particularly in his contemporary works.

Brian Walker: has studied and worked with a number of well known artists including Philip Lanzé, Mark Porter, Bill Reid, and Keith Wolfe Smarch.  Brian creates a limited amount of work in bronze, copper, and wood in addition to his interest in heritage and historical canoes.   First coming to the Yukon in 1969, Brian now lives and works with his wife, traditional weaver Ann Smith at their home studio on the Yukon River at Whitehorse.


Mark Porter: A tragic house fire on April 12, 1999 cut short the promissing career of Tlingit artist Mark Porter.   He was the only grandson of the late First Nation photographer, elder, and leader George Johnston (who the George Johnston Museum in Teslin is named after).  He began his carving career as an apprentice with Keith Wolfe Smarch and quickly became an accomplished artist in his own right.

His artistic expression was based on traditional Tlingit style of wood carving, painting and design, which incorporated the old stories of his people. His contemporaries spoke of his talent for one so young. His work on panels and masks are a fine example of his talent - with examples in a number of private collections.

His work can also be found in the Yukon Permanent Art Collection, and just prior to his death he completed his last commission, a drawing called Salmon Brings Eggs To The World for the Commissioner’s Potlatch poster.  He was on the cusp of greater public recognition and interest from leading galleries.

His talent is expressed in his collaborative piece – Where Legends Meet - on display at the Beringia Interpretive Centre’s court yard.


George Teichmann: has painted much of the Pleistocene fauna represented at the Centre. His illustrations include the woolly mammoth and giant beaver on our outdoor exhibits, as well as the background scene, yesterday’s camel, American lion and giant beaver in the Strange and Familiar exhibit indoors. George also painted the scenes for a series of posters to promote the Centre.

Born in Czechoslovakia in 1958, Teichmann attended the Peoples School of Art in Bohemia from 1964 to 1973 and the Bohemia Glass Cutting Art Schoolfrom 1973 to 1976. During this period, he won acclaim in juried exhibitions in Budapest Hungary and Sophia Bulgaria for portraiture and wildlife painting. For the next 10 years, Teichmann focused on the art of cut crystal, with prehistoric life painting as a casual interest. Immigrating to Canada in 1984, he studied English and funded several solo canoe expeditions in northern Ontario through private sales of his wildlife art. In 1990, he canoed the Yukon River from Whitehorse Yukon to Delta, Alaska and was so captivated by the Yukon wilderness that he decided to homestead there.

Known by his artist’s signature “Rinaldino” [Ri-NAL-di-no], George Teichmann now specializes in paleontological art and has exhibited his work in Tacoma, Washington and Whitehorse. Most recently Teichmann’s work was featured prominently at the Ice Age Mammals exhibit in Montreal created by the Canadian Museum of Nature, Montreal Science Centre, Royal Tyrrell Museum, and the Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre.


Click here to view George Teichmann's prehistoric animal paintings. http://www.centredessciencesdemontreal.com/en/activites/activites_mammiferes.htm

If you wish to contact George 'Rinaldino' Teichmann he can be reached through the following contact:
George 'Rinaldino' Teichmann
C. Caldwell Productions
Box 20019
Whitehorse, Yukon Y1A 7A2
phone/fax: (867) 633-5164
e-mail: caldwellart@northwestel.net
identify subject as: Beringia artworks web:

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Box 2703 Whitehorse, Yukon
phone: (867) 667-8855
fax: (867) 667-8854
email: beringia@gov.yk.ca

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