Cape Cove Beach (Dh Ai-5,6,7), Newfoundland: prehistoric cultures

Austin, Shaun (1980) Cape Cove Beach (Dh Ai-5,6,7), Newfoundland: prehistoric cultures. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

[img] [English] PDF (Migrated (PDF/A Conversion) from original format: (application/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 (30MB)
  • [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.
    (Original Version)


During the 1979 summer field season archaeological excavations were carried out at three prehistoric sites along Cape Cove Beach, on the northeast coast of the island of Newfoundland. Data gathered from these sites, coupled with existing evidence, have allowed inferences to be made concerning: 1) the nature of the terminal period of the Maritime Archaic Tradition; 2) the possibility of cross-cultural diffusion resulting from contacts between Dorset Eskimo and Indian occupations in Newfoundland, between approximately 500 B.C. and A.D. 500; and 3) the origin of the historic Beothuks. -- The Cape Cove-1 site contained evidence of two separate Maritime Archaic occupations. The earlier of these two components represents one of the earliest known examples of human presence on the island of Newfoundland. The most significant artifacts recovered from this context are a slender chipped stone, contracting stemmed lance/spearhead, and two blade-like flakes. -- The second occupation at Cape Cove-1 apparently followed a c. 925 year cultural hiatus. The most notable artifacts from this context include a unifacial scraper, ground stone adzes and celts, linear flakes, and several bifacially flaked projectile points. -- The Cape Cove-2 site contained one major prehistoric Beothuk component. Diagnostic prehistoric Beothuk artifacts from Cape Cove-2 included notched points, other triangular and lanceolate shaped bifaces, and scrapers. The discovery of a long rectangular sheet of birch bark in situ at Cape Cove-2 likely represents the earliest direct evidence for the use of birch bark canoes by Beothuks. Several artifact forms, which may have been used in canoe construction, were recovered from or near various hearth features at Cape Cove-2. These included a ground (and chipped) stone wedge, a concave knife/scraper and a bone awl or punch. -- The Cape Cove-3 site contained at least one feature which, according to our existing criteria, was identified as a Maritime Archaic tool manufacturing activity area. This feature contained such items as a bone scraper, an unidentified smooth oval stone, several large chipped stone lance/spearheads, and hundreds of biface thinning flakes. It is interesting to note that sites found elsewhere, with comparable artifacts, have been radiocarbon dated to periods well after the dates which were obtained from Cape Cove-2 and the Beothuk component at Cape Cove-3. -- The major occupation of Cape Cove-3 appears to have been established by members of what we presently refer to as prehistoric Beothuk culture, despite that fact that this apparent prehistoric Beothuk occupation may actually predate the so-called Maritime Archaic occupation the same site. Prehistoric Beothuk culture was indicated archaeologically by the presence of notched points, triangular bifaces, and scrapers. Also present in some of these hearth features were several miniature, expanding stemmed points, small blade cores/gravers, and tiny linear flakes. These latter items are tentatively classified as an early Beothuk 'micro-point' technology, although further research is required to firmly establish the cultural origin of these artifact forms. -- The Cape Cove evidence as a whole indicates and supports the in situ hypothesis over the population replacement concept in the explanation of the disappearance of the Maritime Archaic Tradition and the origin of Beothuk culture. Moreover, this proposed in situ cultural transition now appears to have taken place during a period of close coexistence and cross-cultural diffusion with Early and Middle period Dorset Eskimos. Eskimo to Indian trait diffusion is suggested to account, in large part, for those differences between Late Maritime Archaic and 'proto-Beothuk' cultures which are not simply the result of continuous cultural development.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 7771
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 199-205.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Anthropology
Date: 1980
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Canada--Newfoundland and Labrador--Cape Freels
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Indians of North America--Newfoundland and Labrador--Antiquities; Excavations (Archaeology)--Newfoundland and Labrador--Cape Freels

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over the past year

View more statistics