An experimental geochemical characterization analysis of archaeological iron from the contact period of Newfoundland and Labrador

Hamilton, Tyrone (2015) An experimental geochemical characterization analysis of archaeological iron from the contact period of Newfoundland and Labrador. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

[img] [English] PDF - Accepted Version
Available under License - The author retains copyright ownership and moral rights in this thesis. Neither the thesis nor substantial extracts from it may be printed or otherwise reproduced without the author's permission.

Download (102MB)


This research uses scanning electron microscopy-energy dispersive X-ray spectrometry (SEM-EDX) and inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) on cross-sections of iron artifacts sectioned from along shafts to determine the elemental constituents of a collection of Inuit and European artifacts from along the coast of Labrador. Hand-wrought iron nails from early historic period (16th – 18th centuries CE) Inuit sites in Labrador were originally manufactured by and acquired from early whalers and fishers of various European nationalities. The purpose of this research was to assess if the elements in different samples are sufficiently homogeneous to be viable for a provenience analysis to discern which Inuit nails were originally derived from which European groups; the Basque, English or French. The consistent relationships between the geochemical signatures of iron nails found in Inuit sites and historic nails derived from specific European groups could provide insights into the prevalence, activity and the nature of indigenous interactions of different European nationalities in the region over time. The results show that the methods applied to evaluate the geochemistry of the nails was not sufficient to detect meaningful patterns because the nails did not demonstrate the necessary degree of chemical uniformity among different samples in the same artifacts.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 11707
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 102-115).
Keywords: Inuit, Labrador, Iron, Provenance, European Contact, Material Culture, Exchange Networks, Basque, Geochemistry, Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM)
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Archaeology
Date: 2015
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Newfoundland and Labrador--Labrador
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Nails and spikes--Newfoundland and Labrador--Labrador; Excavations (Archaeology)--Newfoundland and Labrador--Labrador; Inuit--Implements--Newfoundland and Labrador--Labrador; Labrador (N.L.)--Antiquities

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over the past year

View more statistics