National Geographic : 1985 Jul
terrace, the team began uncovering dozens of iron tools, all woodworking implements and all plainly part of the cooper's trade. There were adz heads for rounding the insides of casks, croze blades for cutting grooves to secure barrica heads, and drawknives for smoothing staves. Other sites are more mysterious. On both Saddle Island and its small neigh bor, Twin Island, we recovered bits of burned whale bone and scraps of ba leen, plus the bones of birds and small mammals that probably had been eaten there. The added presence of iron nails suggested some sort of structure, but the familiar fragments of roofing tiles were absent. I believe these may have been camps where the chalupa crews waited to launch as 16th-Century Basque Whalers in America soon as whales were sighted offshore. From Twin Island came this wood en artifact (above), which may be a tal ly stick, used by Basques until the mid-19th century. The upper carving could have identified the owner or his trade, while the lower markings might represent receipts, debts, or even whales killed. Did Basques and the indigenous Inuit trade on Twin Island? Unmis takably Inuit artifacts found there in clude a slate harpoon blade, a drill bit made of chert, a bow with arrows, and seal vertebrae strung like beads on two seal ribs. However, the people who made them may have simply visited the island to scavenge the whaling sta tions during winter and spring, when the Basques were absent.