Thursday, June 17, 2010

Mammoth of a find!

The Hawk Minesite
Sixtymile River is a place that flows with the history of the Yukon. I went there for my work in 2006, I met a bunch of miners up there, and between the 3 of them I don’t think there was a full set of teeth! But these are the guys who know how to live on the edge of civilization. Dawson is only 2 hrs away on a sunny day, but an eternity in the winter. Throughout the valley you can see the old cabins of the Klondike gold rush and the land is healing the scars from that time. In the goldrush the hills were stripped bare of all the trees to melt the permafrost in the mineshaft and then to feed the boilers of the dredges in latter years. If you ever get out to Dawson take a trip to the goldfields, in the barren land there used be small communities dotted about of about 2,000 or so to service the men moiling for gold in the land of the midnight sun.
During the goldrush and to this present day, remains of woolly mammoths are found and miners have shown me their personal collection including a sizeable chunk of Mammoth skin with it’s hair still on it. It is amazing to stroke the hair of an animal that died roughly 25,000 years ago. Miners have also discovered that the tusks are valuable themselves. Mammoth tusks have a different grain than elephants so an expert can easily tell if the ivory is from a current species of elephant or a extinct Mammoth.
Miners are a independent lot and their distrust of the government runs deep. Many of the miners would be reluctant to tell the government about their finds. Hawk Mining Ltd should be commended for reporting the find and turning it over. Now many people will be able to marvel at this animal.

The Quartz creek dredge

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