Prehistoric cultural traditions at the Beaches site, DeAK-1, Bonavista Bay.

Carignan, Paul Conrad. (1973) Prehistoric cultural traditions at the Beaches site, DeAK-1, Bonavista Bay. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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This research concerns itself with the identification of prehistoric cultural remains as represented at the multicomponent Beaches site, DeAk-1, Bonavista Bay. Several cultural traditions are known for this area and the Beaches site produced evidence of Maritime Archaic, Dorset and Beothuck groups. A chronological framework for these occupations is attempted on the basis of radiocarbon dating, stratigraphic position, and comparisons to other sites and cultural sequences. The interpretation of spatial arrangements of artifacts and habitation features is offered in an attempt to reconstruct their settlement patterns. Inferences on their subsistence activities is based on ethnographic data, the limited faunal remains, and reconstruction of the regional resource potential. -- Occupational evidence at this coastal site occurred in two stratigraphically distinct layers. Cultural Layer 1 contained lithic artifacts attributed to Maritime Archaic, Dorset and Beothuck groups all in a single three inch occupation layer. Cultural Layer 2 was bottommost and clearly distinct with artifacts pertaining entirely to the Maritime Archaic tradition. -- This lower Archaic component is characterized by chipped stone biface forms - bipointed, ovate, lanceolate and stemmed. Scrapers are present in the large retouched flakes but a formal flake end scraper category has not been identified. The ground stone industry - celts, a single ground slate point and abrader, is not present in large amounts. A blade-core industry is unique and definitely part of this Archaic component. Three radiocarbon dates, 1740 B.C., 1890 B.C., and 2950 B.C. indicate the early temporal position of their occupation. -- The upper Archaic component reflects cultural continuity through these Archaic groups with identical chipped stone forms occurring. Temporal and stylistic variations are seen in the greater variety of stemmed points, flake unifaces, and the presence of flake end scrapers. The ground stone industry is well established although ground slate points were not found. The blade-core industry is also present in this later Archaic component although examples tend to be cruder. A guess-date of 1500 B.C. may validly indicate the initial Archaic occupation in this stratum. It may have terminated just prior to Dorset intrusion into Newfoundland and Bonavista Bay. -- The Dorset occupation was probably initiated during the early centuries B.C. This early population movement is postulated on the basis of a few artifacts considered time-sensitive. The main Dorset occupation however occurred during the first half of the first millennium A.D. A date of A.D. 300 from a Dorset hearth supports this interpretation. -- An influx of Indian groups is seen towards the termination of the Dorset period. These groups represent the initial Beothuck population in Newfoundland. The Beaches site provided only six corner-notched points which we can ascribe with certainty to these people. As a further reflection of our inadequate knowledge of Beothuck prehistory, these cannot be assigned to any temporal position in the Beothuck development. -- The reconstruction of subsistence-settlement patterns reveals a basic coastal-interior adaptation for all cultural groups. A spring to fall coastal occupation for specialized sea mammal exploitation is postulated. Interior subsistence is based on the large congregating winter herds and a deep interior penetration and interior settlement was necessary. This was probably facilitated by the large river systems in the Bonavista Bay area. This regional distribution of abundant coastal resources among the many islands and reaches plus interior caribou herds provided the establishment of similar settlement patterns for the various cultural occupations in Bonavista Bay.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 10267
Additional Information: Bibliography : leaves [161]-165.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Sociology
Date: 1973
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Beothuk Indians--Antiquities; Inuit--Newfoundland and Labrador--Antiquities.

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