Archeological research in the North American Arctic and Subarctic has long been a co-operative effort between U.S., Canadian, Danish and other European scholars. Throughout the history of this international collaboration, publications resulting from scholarly meetings and conferences have contributed greatly to our understanding of Arctic prehistory. ... The most recent gathering in this tradition was a joint Canadian Archaeological Association/Society for American Archaeology (CAA-SAA) symposium held in Vancouver, B.C. on April 25 and 26, 1979, subtitled "Recent Research in Eskimo Archaeology." Following the meeting in Vancouver all symposium participants were invited to submit their manuscripts for publication in a special issue of the journal Arctic. ... The past decade has seen a tremendous increase in arctic archaeological research. The current rate of data gathering almost defies attempts at synthesis. ... The papers in this volume cover a vast geographical area and show a variety of theoretical orientations and methods. ... Archaeological resource management and protection is a topic of major and urgent concern and an increasing number of arctic specialists have become involved with the development of more effective management and control of northern cultural resources. Included in this volume are several papers dealing with research in an applied setting. This volume presents a useful sample of current research which will provide the reader with a perspective on the "state of the art." With many authors from a variety of backgrounds and a broad geographical, topical and methodological scope, the symposium conveys a lively sense of both the strengths and the weaknesses of current work. The papers also offer suggestions for new directions in arctic research by providing clues to potentially weak and incomplete areas in current research. ...
Excavations since 1974 have built upon de Laguna's pioneering classification of Pacific Eskimo prehistory. The Chugachik site (SEL 033) yielded abundant artifactual and paleoenvironmental information dated mainly between c. 350 B.C. and 250 A.D. While artifacts were scarce at Cottonwood Creek (SEL 030), dated at about 200 A.D., data on human biology, paleopathology, social stratification and mortuary ceremonialism were recovered. The Yukon Island Fox Farm Bluff site (SEL 041) dates to c. 500-900 A.D. and yielded a new culture showing connections with the Alaska Peninsula. Future research should focus on the earlier prehistory of the bay, the classic problem of the Pacific Eskimo-Tanaina Athapaskan transition, and the paleoenvironmental record.
Significant changes occurred within Paleoeskimo cultures during the first millenium B.C. Archaeological remains from the Lagoon site, on Banks Island, N.W.T., provide a new perspective on the nature of those changes and insights into some of the processes involved.
During the months of July and August 1978, a programme of archaeological excavations was conducted on Karluk Island in the Crozier Strait region of the Canadian High Arctic. The purpose of this project was to continue the examination, begun in 1977, of a number of early Dorset sites .... The objectives were to recover a sufficient sample of artifacts to legitimately conduct inter-regional comparisons, and to obtain ancillary data pertaining to structure types, subsistence patterns, seasonality and date of occupation. In the ... paper, the data obtained during the 1978 season are summarized and the significance of this material to High Arctic prehistory is briefly assessed.
Typological comparisons of stone tool assemblages have traditionally been seen as a means of assessing the relationships between components within the Arctic Small Tool tradition (ASTt). Excavation at Independence I components at Port Refuge, Devon Island, allows us to examine this assumption. These components consist of spatially discrete features, most of which appear to be the remains of single family dwellings occupied only once and for a short period of time. It can probably be assumed that the majority of artifacts associated with any feature were manufactured by the individuals who occupied that feature. Marked differences can be seen between feature assemblages in the proficiency with which stone tools were made, and individual stylistic preferences can be postulated on the bases of intra-feature uniformities. If the hypothesis ascribing a great deal of stylistic variability to individual ability and preference is correct, typological comparisons of Canadian ASTt stone tool assemblages may be of relatively little use in judging the relationships between components.
During the 1978 and 1979 field seasons in the Bache Peninsula region on the east coast of Ellesmere Island ... a number of artifacts mostly of European manufacture and presumably related to Norse activities was located in old Thule culture winter house ruins. The finds were made on three sites in the study area ... Skraeling Island (Chain mail sections, knife blades, boat rivets, iron point and copper pieces, woolen cloth), the Eskimobyen site on Knud Peninsula (barrel bottom, box section, copper piece), and Haa Island (ivory figurine). A general description of these finds, locational data, associated radiocarbon dates and material analyses are presented. ...
A brief survey of the Cape Dorset area, Baffin Island recovered surface collections from three very similar, but unusual quartz assemblages. This paper hypothesizes that these assemblages represent a consistent set of activities. In testing this hypothesis, the author uses an approach to functional analysis that has several important advantages over other methods. This approach can help solve problems in eastern arctic prehistory involving a relationship between environmental change and cultural change.
An archaeological sequence of Neo-Eskimo occupations, based upon excavations of eight Thule winter houses near Lake Harbour, Baffin Island, is outlined, beginning around A.D. 1100 and extending into the present century. Relationships between past climatic events, local environmental characteristics, and the organization of Neo-Eskimo subsistence-settlement systems are traced throughout this period of time, based on analysis of artifactual, faunal, and midden deposit data. A rescheduling of procurement systems, coupled with a shift in the emphasis of fall/winter settlement options, is seen in response to climatic/ecological changes, commencing after A.D. 1250, which affected the accessibility of bowhead whales, ringed seal, and caribou. It is suggested that flexibility in the organization of domestic units and demographic arrangements was an important cultural mechanism permitting Thule and recent Inuit populations to respond effectively to changes in their biophysical environments.
The wide variation in Dorset residence structures may indicate seasonal site differences greater than a simple summer/winter dichotomy. This is further suggested by a comparison of selected stone tool frequencies from Dorset sites near Lake Harbour, N.W.T. Here manufacturing activities appear to differ from spring to summer to winter. The evidence also suggests that in this region Late Dorset winter settlements were located on the fast sea ice.
Archaeologists for the past half century have considered bowhead whaling to be an important and integral part of Thule Eskimo subsistence. This position has come into question recently. Arguments are set forth favoring the predominant archaeological view that bowheads were hunted and extensively used during the period A.D. 1000-1300 in much of the Canadian Arctic. Direct, indirect, and circumstantial evidence is outlined, ranging from the presence of whaling gear and graphic whaling depictions to arguments of resource maximization and ample storage capacity at Thule winter sites. Differences in interpreting the Thule record appear to reflect different methodological approaches of ethnologists and archaeologists.
Implications méthodologiques des fouilles de Tuvaaluk sur l'étude des établissements dorsétiens [The methodological implications of the Tuvaaluk Programme excavations on the study of Dorset sites]
Arctic, v. 33, no. 3, Sept. 1980, p. 542-552, ill.
ASTIS record 5310
In the hope of obtaining paleoethnographic data, Tuvaaluk Programme excavations have focused on zones implying Dorset domestic and social organization. The principal site initially selected appeared to comprise diverse habitations with semi-subterranean dwellings, three of which are partially overlapping. The horizontal extension of the excavation into interstructural zones, the registration of structural remains by vertical photography, and analysis of the natural stratigraphy revealed a much more intensive occupation of the excavated area than was originally anticipated. ... Thus, the systematic and intensive excavation of a site initially perceived as relatively simple reveals a variety and complexity of features that would not have been found by the sampling and limited excavation of visible habitations and a supposed midden. Resulting interpretations and hypotheses concerning, in particular, use of the site, seasonality, demography, and the regional settlement pattern, are consequently significantly altered.
Les fouilles de Tuvaaluk ont été orientées vers l'étude de l'espace domestique et social dorsétien dans l'espoir d'en obtenir des données palethnographiques. Le site principal, choisi au départ, semblait correspondre á des habitats divers avec maisons semi-souterraines dont trois étaient partiellement enchevêtrées. L'extension horizontale de la fouille dans l'espace interstructural, l'enregistrement des structures-témoins par photographie verticale, l'analyse de la stratigraphie naturelle ont révélé une occupation intensive de l'espace fouillé très différente des prévisions. Elle correspond à une série de réaménagements fortement inbriqués les uns dans les autres, à différentes saisons et différentes époques de la période dorsétienne. Ainsi, la fouille systématique et intensive d'un site apparaissant relativement simple au départ révèle des facies variés et complexes que des sondages et des fouilles restreintes aux structures visibles et au dépotoir supposé n'auraient pas décelés. Les interprétations et les hypothèses en résultant sont donc fort différentes, en particulier en ce qui concernent l'utilisation de l'espace, la saisonnalité, la démographie et l'implantation régionale.
Etude préliminaire du matériel osseux provenant du site dorsétien DIA.4(JfE1-4) (arctique oriental) [A preliminary faunal analysis of the Dorset site DIA.4(JfE1-4) (eastern Arctic)]
Arctic, v. 33, no. 3, Sept. 1980, p. 553-568, ill.
ASTIS record 5311
This paper presents a preliminary faunal analysis of the DIA.4 Dorset site, located on Diana Island, Diana Bay, in Arctic Quebec. Study of the stratigraphic distribution of the bone material suggests multiple occupation of the site. Also, spatial distributions of the various animal species present demonstrate a succession of seasonal occupations and indicate an annual cycle of resource exploitation in the region.
Cet article présente une analyse préliminaire des vestiges osseux provenant du site dorsétien DIA.4, localisé sur l'île Diana, dans la baie du Diana, Arctique québécois. L'étude de la distribution stratigraphique du matériel osseux permet de suggérer que le site fut occupé à plusieurs reprises. De même, la distribution spatiale des différentes espèces animales semble indiquer une succession d'occupations saisonnières, suggérant un cycle annuel des activités de subsistance dans la région.
The 1978 Tuvaaluk Programme excavation at DIA.4 (JfE-4) revealed evidence of 15 habitation features in a stratified context. These features, comprising both semi-subterranean dwellings and tent emplacements, are summarized and stratigraphically organized into chronologically successive occupation phases at the site. Excavation results suggest certain methodological implications of importance to the interpretation of the Dorset settlement pattern in Ungava.
The Torngat Archaeological Project conducted two seasons of field work in northern Labrador in 1977-78. Surveys by boat and ground crews ranging from Nain to the Button Islands located nearly 350 archaeological sites and gathered data from many geological and botanical stations. Cultures represented in this region include all of the known arctic groups (Pre-Dorset, Dorset, Thule, and Labrador Inuit) and northern Indian cultures (Maritime Archaic, Saunders, and Point Revenge) known from the central Labrador coast. In addition to contributing to knowledge of 6000 years of culture history in this environmental and cultural frontier, the project is investigating environmental relationships and processes of culture change which have affected Eskimo, Indian, and European settlement. This paper presents a project overview and discusses TAP goals, physical setting, analytical orientation, field methods, and preliminary conclusions.
Archaeological investigations on Avayalik Island near the tip of the Labrador Peninsula by the Torngat Archaeological Project have produced data crucial to a new, but preliminary, understanding of Middle Dorset tool kits, subsistence pursuits, settlement patterns, house forms, and technological changes from Early to Middle Dorset. Three sites, tentatively dated to the early Middle Dorset period, demonstrate a gradual evolution from Early to Middle Dorset registered in the lithic remains. They also exhibit a variety of house forms and associated features suggesting seasonal and/or functional differences. The fourth site discussed, Avayalik-1, consists of a deep midden deposit whose lowest levels are nearly perfectly preserved. Wood artifacts are numerous and suggest that this raw material played an extremely important role in Dorset technology. Faunal evidence from this site, combined with evidence from other sites, indicates a summer to early winter focus on birds and seals, particularly the migratory harp seal at ice-edge and outer island locales such as Avayalik. The importance of these new adaptive patterns, compared to earlier groups is discussed.
The Torngat Archaeology Project is involved in a raw materials program that includes the "finger-printing" of certain lithics used by prehistoric cultures in Labrador, and the identification of their geological sources. Field work was carried out in 1978 in the Ramah and Mugford areas to sample chert outcrops and search for evidence of prehistoric quarrying and manufacturing activities. Numerous quarries and workshops were discovered in the Ramah Group, and a suite of Ramah and Cod Island chert samples was collected for analyses. Thin sections of four visually similar rock types from Labrador - Ramah chert, Cod Island chert, Saglek quarzite, and Ryan's quartz - were examined and samples of each were submitted for trace element analysis by neutron activation. Given the high purity of the cherts and the small number of samples used in the preliminary activation analysis, confident identification of and strong discrimination between the four, based on trace element concentrations, were not possible. However, thin section examination enabled identifications and differentiations to be made based on the petrographic features of each of the lithics.
Archaeological and historical information are brought together in an examination of the changing economic and social interaction spheres of the Labrador Neo-Eskimo from the Thule period through the 19th century. Animal availability, hunting technologies and strategies, and direct and indirect contact between Neo-Eskimos and various European groups are considered in a discussion of changing subsistence practices and settlement patterns. The paper pin-points a pattern of intensification and eventual disintegration of cooperative endeavours between Neo-Eskimo groups inhabiting northern Labrador.
Archaeological surveys in northern Labrador have supplemented previous evidence from the central coast concerning the Dorset subsistence-settlement system. The evidence suggests a flexible Dorset economic base capable of exploiting a wide variety of environments, but lacking full development of certain food procurement systems that would later become important in Thule culture. In particular, site location and faunal analysis indicate that breathing hole sealing was not strongly developed by the Dorset, and that winter and spring settlement was oriented toward ice edge seal and walrus hunting.