Integrated soil analysis at an Inuit tent camp: Huntingdon Island 5 (FkBg-3), Sandwich Bay, South Labrador

Dobrota, Therese (2014) Integrated soil analysis at an Inuit tent camp: Huntingdon Island 5 (FkBg-3), Sandwich Bay, South Labrador. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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The history of Labrador Inuit archaeology reflects a disproportionate focus on the sod house, characteristic of the winter settlement. However, the sod house represents only a part of the traditional Inuit yearly foraging round. Throughout the warmer seasons, including spring, summer, and early autumn, Inuit lived in skin tents. Although they are representative of a broader seasonal range of subsistence practices, tent camps have seldom been studied. This is due to the poor material assemblages and limited structural remains that characterize these sites, which makes it difficult to approach them through conventional excavation methods. This thesis engages with the potential of a systematic study of Inuit tent camp sites through the development of a more suitable method of analysis. For this purpose, bulk soil samples and undisturbed cores were collected from soils associated with Tent Ring 1 and Tent Ring 4 from Huntingdon Island 5 (FkBg-3), in Sandwich Bay, southern Labrador, and a soil and vegetation survey were carried out at the site. Ethnographic data was used to interpret the structures, guide sampling procedures and formulate working hypotheses, which were tested through the joint application of thin section micromorphology, soil chemistry and paleoethnobotanical analysis under the heading of integrated soil analysis. This approach is designed to address specific issues connected to the southern Labrador landscape, such as the shallowness of acidic tundra soils and the narrow buffer zone between the active layer of plant growth and the archaeological layer, and to answer questions about the taskscape associated with the tent rings, as well as their environmental and taphonomic context. The analysis has provided information on the internal structure of the dwellings and designated activity areas, reoccupation events, the length and season of occupation, as well as a relative sequence of use, while simultaneously providing a perspective on the environmental signature of these dwellings on the south Labrador tundrascape and the taphonomic processes that impact them.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 8313
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 212-226).
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Anthropology
Date: December 2014
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Sandwich Bay (N.L.)
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Inuit--Dwellings--Newfoundland and Labrador--Sandwich Bay--History; Tents--Newfoundland and Labrador--Sandwich Bay--History; Soils--Analysis; Paleoethnobotany--Newfoundland and Labrador--Sandwich Bay

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