The Igloolik archaeological sites are located on the islands at the northern end of Foxe Basin, close to the village of Igloolik. The sites have been continuously occupied for the past 4000 years. Prehistoric hunters were attracted to the area by rich sea-mammal resources, principally seals and walrus. Isostatic uplift (ie, a rise in the level of the land due to higher temperatures that melt the ice and reduce its weight) has created a series of raised beaches in the area. The archaeological remains of older beach occupations are now found higher above sea level than are those of more recent occupations. This has allowed archaeologists to demonstrate an unmatched sequence of occupation and cultural development throughout the Palaeoeskimo period between about 2000 BC and 1000 AD. The Palaeoeskimos were the first people to live on the coasts and islands of arctic Canada, starting 4000 years ago (see prehistory). After 1000 AD, they were replaced by prehistoric Thule Culture, whose descendants continued to use the region through the historic period.

See also Archaeology.