My friend Russell S. Taichman has recently published an excellent article in Polar Record concerning the wooden pillar found by Supunger at the “burial vault” site. Apparently a whittled model of it was returned by Hall and lay unrecognized in his collection, until Russ took a second look!
I have long thought that Supunger’s pillar was fashioned from a spar or other ship’s fitting, but have never received a satisfactory answer to any expert in rigging or bomb vessel construction to confirm this. I do remember, on first seeing an image of the Belcher memorial on Beechey that it had some features of Supunger’s pillar, the large ball and changing cross-section of different elements were suggestive.
LARGE BALL ______________________________________________________________________
CHANGED SHAPE SPINDLE (IN THIS CASE OCTAGONAL) _____________________________
SQUARE SECTION SET IN GROUND _________________________________________________
Supunger’s original description: “The pillar of wood stood by one side of it – not at the end but on one side. The part of the stick or pillar standing was about 4 feet high as indicated by Su-pung-er on my person + the whole height on replacing the part broken off six feet from the ground … It was deeply imbedded set in the sand. The shape of this stick or pillar was a peculiar one to these natives. The part in the ground was square. Next to the ground was a big ball + above this to within a foot or so of the top the stick was round. The top part was about 3 or 4 inches square.”