The ASTIS database cites the following 7 publication(s) by Callum Thomson. Publications are listed from newest to oldest. Please tell us about publications that are not yet cited in ASTIS.
The caribou trail continues : a survey of White Point, between Saglek and Hebron / Thomson, C.
(Archaeology in Newfoundland & Labrador, annual report, no. 7, 1986, p. 27-51, ill., maps)
ASTIS record 58630.
A report on a 1985 survey of the inner arms of Saglek Fjord (Figure I) , in which little evidence was found of prehistoric utilization of resources in this area compared with the large numbers of sites on the outer coast and islands of Saglek Bay (Thomson 1986), concluded that a focus of future research in the Saglek Bay/Fjord area would be north on the coastal margin towards Nachvak and south towards Hebron. The purpose of the expansion would be to test the hypothesis that in prehistoric times hunting groups in Saglek may have felt more attachment to neighbouring groups, outer coastal resources, and fast travel routes than to the neat geographic unit of a bay/fjord complex such as Saglek which penetrates far inland and crosses several ecological zones, and that the abundant resources of the fjord arms, including char and caribou, may only have been attractive to the more mobile and numerous Neo-Eskimos and Inuit. ... A brief opportunity to examine this problem in the field was presented in 1986. In late June, Gerald Penney (1986, this volume) was contracted to assess potential impact on the area's historic resources of the North Warning System and Long Range Radar Installation at Cape Uivak, Saglek. As I had previously surveyed part of the study area (Thomson, 1981, 1984), I offered to accompany and assist Penney. ... Conclusion: The half-day survey of the coastline and near interior around White Point resulted in the recording of 18 new sites ranging from Maritime Archaic through Dorset to Neo-Eskimo. The presence of so many Maritime Archaic sites on the outer coast and islands (Tuck 1975; Fitzhugh 1980b; Thomson 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1986) and their paucity in the inner reaches of Saglek Fjord (Tuck 1975; Thomson 1986) support the hypothesis that in this region the main subsistence focus of Maritime Archaic People was towards outer coastal resources, and that travel and inter-group connections were effected along the coastal margin. Until more investigations are conducted at the Palaeo-Eskimo and Neo-Eskimo sites described, little can be said about their temporal positions other than that at least some of the Inuit sites date from the very recent period. Access to and possession of firearms and machine-powered transportation, the need or desire to supply non-traditional markets with resources such as char, cod, seals and furs in addition to providing subsistence needs, and the lack of competition with other cultural groups for food and other raw materials in the last century or so account in part for the ubiquitousness of Inuit sites here and elsewhere in northern Labrador. However, a great deal of work has yet to be done to identify functional, seasonal and temporal differences in Inuit, Neo-Eskimo (and Maritime Archaic) boulder structures (cf. Allison 1986; Kaplan 1985). Future investigations in this area should include near-interior travel routes and food resource areas and more of the coastline north and south from White Point to provide further information on prehistoric settlement and subsistence patterns and inter-region contacts between the Nachvak/Ramah region, Saglek and Hebron, and beyond. From our observations of caribou and well-worn caribou trails in 1986 and previous years and the accumulating evidence of caribou hunting technology, it seems likely that this animal was an important, if secondary focus for subsistence on the coast from late spring to early fall in addition to other migratory and local species such as birds, their eggs, fish and sea mammals. Identification of areas likely to contain boulder fences and natural features involved in the exploitation of caribou can provide concrete evidence of subsistence foci and hunting methods not preserved for other species. Investigation of the technology involved in caribou hunting and the relative importance of this species in various seasons and cultures still remains (cf. Fitzhugh 1979, 1981) a largely untapped area of research in Labrador. (Au)
U, T, I, B, M, G, N
Animal distribution; Artifacts; Canada Geese; Caribou; Chert; Design and construction; DEW Line; Dorset culture; Eiders; Erosion; Fast ice; Fishes; Food; Graves; Heritage sites; Houses; Human migration; Hunting; Inuit archaeology; Marine mammals; Neoeskimo culture; Pack ice; Palaeoeskimo culture; Quartz; Radiocarbon dating; Sea ice; Sealing; Seasonal variations; Shelters; Subsistence; Tents; Thule culture; Traditional land use and occupancy; Trails; Waterfowl; Whaling; Wildlife habitat
Big Island (58 33 N, 62 42 W), Labrador; Hebron Fiord region, Labrador; Nachvak Fiord region, Labrador; Nunatsiavut, Labrador; Ramah Bay region, Labrador; Saglek Bay region, Labrador; Saglek Fiord region, Labrador; Shuldham Island, Labrador
Caribou trail archaeology : 1985 investigations of Saglek Bay and inner Saglek Fjord / Thomson, C.
(Archaeology in Newfoundland & Labrador, annual report, no. 6, 1985, p. 9-53, ill., 1 map)
ASTIS record 58629.
In 1809, Moravian missionaries Kohlmeister and Kmoch (1814) wrote, "There are about five or six winter-houses at Saglek, containing each about two or three families", implying a winter population of around 100 people. Forty years earlier, Jens Haven (1773) and Lieutenant Roger Curtis (1774, in Taylor 1974) had estimated winter populations of 100 and 140 respectively. While there was most likely considerable movement of families among the various communities on the north coast, in Ungava Bay, and further afield, Sag1ek Bay seems to have been capable of supporting an Inuit population of around 100 which moved seasonally to exploit resources between the inner bay zone around Rose Island (Figure I) and the outer coastal and island zone. Archaeological investigations in 1969-71 by Tuck (1975) and Schledermann (1971) indicated that the inner bay region had also been sporadically exploited by a succession of other cultural groups from the Maritime Archaic through Pre-Dorset, Early Dorset and Middle Dorset to the Thule, over the past 4500 or so years. In 1977-78, the Torngat Archaeological Project (Fitzhugh 1980) found evidence of extensive use of the outer bay zone by most of these as well as by Groswater and Late Dorset Palaeo-Eskimo groups, a pattern which was repeated to some extent in other bay/fjord complexes on the north coast and seemed to add a new dimension to the view held by Tuck and Schledermann that the inner bay had always been the main focus of attention. From 1980-83, following discussions with members of the Torngat Archaeological Project, I conducted excavations at several Dorset and Thule sites on the outer islands and surveyed much of the mainland coastline and islands in the outer bay (Thomson 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984). During the course of the surveys it became evident that there had been extensive use of this zone by all cultural groups from ca. 6000 B.P. early Maritime Archaic through several Palaeo-Eskimo phases including Pre-Dorset, Groswater Eskimo and Early, Middle and Late Dorset, to Thule and Labrador Inuit, as well as at least sporadic visits by Point Revenge Indians. The location of most sites, the results of faunal analysis, our own observations of resources throughout several summers and the information contained in Brice-Bennett's land use study (1977), and the nature of the majority of structures found suggested that occupation of the outer islands and mainland coastline would have been heaviest in late winter, spring and fall. During this period seals, walrus, beluga and larger whales, small numbers of caribou reaching the outer coast early in spring or remaining late in fall, berries, various bird species and, in spring, their eggs would have been the prime food resources. It seemed that winter, spring and late fall settlement and exploitation patterns were becoming well known after a decade and a half of study, yet our observations of large numbers of caribou and char, both available in Saglek Bay from late spring until late summer, suggested that these resources would also have played an important part in the seasonal round. However, because of our research focus to this point, little archaeological evidence had been produced to ascertain the extent to which these resources were utilized. In 1985, a project was aimed primarily at surveying the inner bay and the fjord arms where the major char streams are located (Brice-Bennett 1977) for evidence of char fishing and caribou exploitation. In addition, a search was to be made for the elusive 19th century Hudson's Bay Company Lampson Post and further investigation would be conducted at a Maritime Archaic long house site on Big Island and at a Pre-Dorset village in St. John's Harbour, both in the outer coastal zone. Information from these last two sites would, I hoped, contribute to the debate (Thomson 1984; Fitzhugh 1985) on contact between these two groups. ... (Au)
U, T, I, N, G, B
Animal distribution; Arctic char; Artifacts; Bones; Caribou; Chert; Design and construction; Dorset culture; Erosion; Fishing; Food; Graves; Heritage sites; Houses; Human migration; Hunting; Inuit archaeology; Location; Marine mammals; Quartz; Radiocarbon dating; Sea ice; Sealing; Seasonal variations; Shelters; Soapstone; Subsistence; Tents; Thule culture; Traditional land use and occupancy; Trails; Waterfowl; Whaling
Big Island (58 33 N, 62 42 W), Labrador; Nachvak River region, Labrador; Rose Island, Labrador; Saglek Bay region, Labrador; Saglek Fiord region, Labrador; Shuldham Island, Labrador; St. John's Harbour (47 34 N, 52 42 W), Newfoundland
Dorset shamanism : excavations in northern Labrador / Thomson, C.
(University Museum magazine of archaeology/anthropology, University of Pennsylvania, v. 27, no. 1, 1985, p. 1-49, ill.)
ASTIS record 18404.
In 1977, a Dorset Eskimo site on Shuldham Island in northern Labrador was found by a biologist intent on examining the flora of the richly-vegetated terrace on which the site stood. Upon noting several housepit-like depressions, he alerted his colleagues, archaeologists with the Smithsonian Institution/Bryn Mawr College Torngat Archaeological Project, and the site was tested. Evidence was found of an occupation that extended the known Dorset culture history of the region by several hundred years and suggested that this outer part of the coast was an important exploitation zone during the Middle and Late Dorset periods. In 1978, a short return visit to the site resulted in the excavation of three miniature soapstone figurines ... associated with Late Dorset stone tools. During the summers of 1980 to 1982 and with the generous support of members of the Torngat Archaeological Project, I investigated two of the winter houses at this "Shuldham Island 9." (Au)
Dorset culture; Shamanism; Torngat Archaeological Project
Nunatsiavut, Labrador; Saglek Bay region, Labrador; Shuldham Island, Labrador
Maritime Archaic occupation of Big Island, Saglek Bay : a preliminary report / Thomson, C.
(Archaeology in Newfoundland & Labrador, annual report, no. 4, 1983, p. 48-54, maps)
ASTIS record 58628.
... In 1982, surveys of Big Island in outer Saglek Bay revealed the presence of several Maritime Archaic Indian sites containing habitation structures, the first recognized in Saglek Bay. In July 1983 ... some of these sites were re-examined and more fully documented, and additional surveys conducted. ... Previous surveys of the coast and parts of the interior had presented evidence of utilization of the island by Maritime Archaic, Middle and Late Dorset, and Labrador Inuit cultural groups. ... Location of most of the Maritime Archaic sites on the outer edge of the island indicates that the ice edge and sea ice might have been the favoured hunting areas, whereas most of the island's Labrador Inuit sites are situated along the channel between Big Island and Shuldham Island where, with their larger numbers and superior technology they were able to reap large harvests of harps. The absence of substantial winter dwellings, except for three Inuit sod houses on the south coast, indicates that the major occupations of Big Island would have been in fall and spring. ... The planned objectives of the 1983 season were to document more thoroughly those structures found in 1982 ..., fit them into the Maritime Archaic habitation structure development model being prepared by William Fitzhugh ... for the northern and central Labrador coasts, and to survey the southeast corner of Big Island. Unfortunately, logistical problems prevented full implementation of these objectives .... The presence of these three Maritime Archaic habitation sites, as well as those at IdCq-47 (longhouse and cache pit), IdCp-18 (2 circular paved structures and 2 cache pits), IdCq-50 (2 tent rings), IdCq-51 (1 bilobate structure, 1 tent ring and 1 trap) ..., IdCq-6 (2 circular paved structures), IdCp-l (secondary lithic manufacturing area), IdCq-8 (long, anomolous boulder structure) ..., and IdCq-l (lithic manufacturing area) ..., suggests that Big Island was utilized by Maritime Archaic Indians over a period of several thousand years as a temporary hunting area. The small size of most of the sites and the apparent dearth of lithic material at most does not indicate prolonged or repeated occupation by individual groups. Neither does the island seem to have played any role in the retrieval and reduction of the Ramah chert so prevalent in late Maritime Archaic sites further south, as one might expect in a location so close to the Ramah quarries. ... (Au)
U, T, B
Artifacts; Chert; Design and construction; Dorset culture; Excavation; Houses; Indian archaeology; Inuit; Inuit archaeology; Location; Mapping; Shelters; Size
Big Island (58 33 N, 62 42 W), Labrador
Maritime Archaic longhouses and other survey results from outer Saglek Bay, northern Labrador, August 1982 / Thomson, C.
(Archaeology in Newfoundland & Labrador, annual report, no. 3, 1982, p. 3-31, ill., 1 map)
ASTIS record 58627.
... field research undertaken in the present project in Saglek Bay, northern Labrador ... during 1980 and 1981 produced new evidence at Shuldham 9 of a very late occupation of this region by Late Dorset Eskimos. A small part of this site, occupied perhaps as late as 500 B.P. by Dorset people, was investigated during these two field seasons, and was found also to contain evidence of occupation by earlier Palaeo-Eskimos, Thule Eskimos and the ubiquitous Labrador Inuit. A few artifacts hinted at the additional presence of Maritime Archaic and Point Revenge Indians .... In 1982 a two week field season aimed at completing excavation, mapping and testing at Shuldham 9, investigating one of two small Thule sod houses found in 1981, and conducting surveys in the outer part of Saglek Bay, particularly in potential areas of occupation by Maritime Archaic (MA) Indians. Tuck (1975) and Fitzhugh (1980) had already demonstrated the existence of late MA people this far north; ... I hoped to be able to locate some of these structures in unsurveyed and previously surveyed areas, thus proving an extensive use of the outer part of the bay, rich as it is in a variety of marine and terrestrial food resources. Our surveys concentrated on high gravel and boulder ridges well removed from the present shore line in an attempt to retrace MA-occupied 4000-5000 year old active beaches. ... High, unvegetated terraces often proved to have MA features on them; of these features cache pits were frequently the most visible, leading the eye towards other, larger structures. As no MA structures other than the hearths at Rose Island Site Q ... and a pair of pavement structures on Big Island ... had previously been noted in Saglek Bay we were delighted and not a little surprised to find in the course of our surveys three Maritime Archaic longhouse foundations and two pit houses ..., and some possible MA tent rings. These discoveries highlighted our work as none of these structure types had previously been recognised north of Nulliak, some 25 km to the south ..., and supported the contention raised earlier ... following the discovery at Shuldham 9 of some MA woodworking tools, that a close connection must have been maintained with the forests to the south for supplies of building materials and most likely other trade items unavailable in the north. ... our 1982 objectives were met and surpassed. Mapping and excavation at Shuldham 9 was successfully completed .... The site was then backfilled and left to continue its re-vegetation. Five of the seven visible semi-subterranean housepits at the site remain unexcavated and large areas of midden were left undisturbed. The hoped-for proof of contemporaneity of more than the three excavated structures (including Tent Ring 1) was not achieved (nor disproved), but nonetheless this site has produced some valuable information on the Late Dorset occupation of northern Labrador as well as additional data on early Palaeo-Eskimo, Middle Dorset, Maritime Archaic, Point Revenge and a possible Late Dorset/Thule contact situation. In addition, the soapstone carving industry studied here has presented us with some new insights into the artistic ability, religious beliefs and domestic activities of the Dorset .... The recovery of a Late Dorset triangular point with Middle Dorset-type tip-fluting on the ventral face confirms the radiocarbon date of 1200 ±80 B.P. (S1-3354) on charcoal from the House 2 midden, indicating that Late Dorset evolved from Middle Dorset on the northern coast of Labrador. Analysis of information obtained from the Thule house selected for excavation at the Maunder site has not yet provided us with any startling new evidence. However, a forthcoming radiocarbon date might support a suggestion of Dorset/Thule contact already hinted at in Shuldam 9. ... By far the most exciting and surprising results of the summer were the discoveries of Maritime Archaic sites, complete with structures in several cases. ... (Au)
U, T, B, A, J, H
Artifacts; Beaches; Bones; Charcoal; Chert; Design and construction; Dorset culture; Excavation; Houses; Indian archaeology; Inuit; Inuit archaeology; Location; Mapping; Middens (Archaeology); Radiocarbon dating; Revegetation; Shelters; Size; Soapstone; Thule culture
Big Island (58 33 N, 62 42 W), Labrador; Kangalasiorvik Island, Labrador; Rose Island, Labrador; Shuldham Island, Labrador
Archaeological findings from Saglek Bay, 1981 / Thomson, C.
(Archaeology in Newfoundland & Labrador, annual report, no. 2, 1981, p. 5-31, ill.)
ASTIS record 58626.
... The main objectives of this year's extension to the 1980 Shuldham Island Archaeological Project ... were to complete excavation at Shuldham 9 of the House 1 and 2 locations, including the middens; to test the remaining houses and the rest of the terrace in order to establish the geographic and chronological extent of the site; to excavate one other complete structure, preferably one with a large proportion of Late Dorset tools; and to discover how many structures contained evidence of the intriguing soapstone figurine carving industry so rare in arctic archaeology and so richly represented at this site .... In addition, surveys were to be made around the mouth of Saglek Bay in an attempt to discover the source(s) of the soapstone so abundant at Shuldham 9 and, incidentally, to record previously unreported sites. ... The main objectives of this second season's work at Shuldham 9 were met in that the interior of the two Late Dorset houses were completely excavated and mapped and their middens and surrounding areas adequately tested; a third structure, thought to be a Late Dorset tent ring, was investigated; the terrace behind the semi-subterranean houses was tested to document the areal extent of the site; a faunal collection was made by which to assess seasonality and subsistence preferences; the unique collection of soapstone figurines was expanded both in subject matter and number, further supporting the theory proposed in an earlier paper (Thomson 1981b) that sympathetic hunting magic and other shamanistic assistance were provided by the carver of these works of art, in contrast to the findings of Jordan (1979/80). While no other houses at the site, except for House 5, were tested, the fact that Tent Ring 1 produced soapstone carvings raises the probability that other structures were involved in some way in the art production. Every effort was made to locate the source of the soapstone, without success. During the winter of 1981, analysis will be completedof the Shuldham Island material, the past season's contribution adding greatly to the picture partially assembled in 1980. The large inventory of Late Dorset tools and the variety of structures excavated supports the main thrust of this project: to isolate a Late Dorset component in Saglek Bay, thus extending the known Palaeo-Eskimo occupation of this region by some 1100 years .... (Au)
U, B, A
Artifacts; Beaches; Chert; Design and construction; Dorset culture; Excavation; Houses; Inuit archaeology; Location; Middens (Archaeology); Radiocarbon dating; Shelters; Size; Soapstone; Thule culture
Saglek Bay region, Labrador; Shuldham Island, Labrador
Preliminary archaeological findings from Shuldham Island, northern Labrador, 1980 / Thomson, C.
(Archaeology in Newfoundland & Labrador, annual report, no. 1, 1980, p. 5-25, ill.)
ASTIS record 58625.
... For a period of nine weeks during the summer of 1980 an archaeological project was carried out on Shuldham Island and the outer part of Saglek Bay. The main objectives were as follows: 1. To establish the time period for the Late and Middle Dorset occupation of this region through the typology of house structures and tools, radiocarbon dating and the identification of exotic trade items; to document any possible relationships among Dorset, Thule, Norse, and Point Revenge Indian groups. 2. To investigate the technology involved in and interpret the purpose for an apparently intensive production of soapstone figurines. 3. To document the settlement/subsistence patterns and collect a representative artifact inventory for Late Dorset, a period previously not reported from this area; to relate this pattern and artifact collection to those known elsewhere. With the help of three field assistants for the summer and three volunteers for the final two weeks, most of the interior of two large stone and sod winter houses was excavated. This provided much of the information required for the above objectives. Some evenings, inclement days and parts of days off were spent surveying for new sites and excavating the shallow deposits at two Early Dorset sites. A total of 26 new sites were recorded, amounting to 98 features on Shuldham Island and 34 on neighboring Big Island and adjacent shores of the mainland. ... While cataloguing of the more than 6500 artifacts is not yet completed, initial laboratory analysis and impressions gathered from fieldwork indicate that the major aims of the 1980 project were accomplished. Sufficient diagnostic tools were recovered from Shuldham 9 to enable placement of the Middle and Late components within the northern Labrador chronology, and may help to bridge the gap between the two, with the aid of radiocarbon dates. Artifacts will be compared with those obtained in the inner part of Saglek Bay .... The finding of more than forty soapstone carvings confirms the belief that there was intense interest in religious or magical practices among the Dorset people of northern Labrador .... (Au)
U, I, B, A, P
Artifacts; Beaches; Bones; Chert; Design and construction; Dorset culture; Excavation; Houses; Human migration; Inuit archaeology; Location; Middens (Archaeology); Radiocarbon dating; Rock quarries; Shelters; Size; Soapstone; Subsistence; Thule culture; Trade and barter
Big Island (58 33 N, 62 42 W), Labrador; Saglek Bay region, Labrador; Shuldham Island, Labrador
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