Through space, time, and otherness : a spatial analysis of fifteenth to twentieth century Labrador Inuit settlement patterns

Cloutier-Glinas, Maryse (2010) Through space, time, and otherness : a spatial analysis of fifteenth to twentieth century Labrador Inuit settlement patterns. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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This thesis is an examination of the long-term spatial organization of Labrador Inuit coastal settlements. Existing descriptive accounts of the Labrador coast suggest important differences in the internal spatial arrangement of Inuit archaeological sites. Focusing on winter sites containing sod houses temporally ranging from precontact Inuit to modern times, this research examines the variability in the spatial patterning of Labrador Inuit sod houses, and addresses the particular issue of structures that can be characterized as "outlier houses". This thesis takes a multidisciplinary and geographically broad approach. Its goals, methods and conclusions were informed by several methodologies and theories of more general interests to archaeology, namely materiality, phenomenology, landscape archaeology, spatial analyses, as well as ethnolinguistics. This thesis integrates the nearest neighbour (NN) analysis, a distance method stemming from point pattern analyses. Exploratory tools favoured for the present research were the Stienen diagram, and the Empty space distance diagram. -- The present thesis demonstrated that general trends could be deciphered from the spatial patterning of houses within Labrador Inuit costal settlements. First, it is suggested that ranges of specific distances may indicate sociospatial relations between houses, while some may indicate the contrary. Second, NN distances tend to increase and become more disparate from southern to northern locations. Third, this distribution indicates that the wider time-span a site covers, the greater variability in spatial arrangements it displays. The ethnographical data collected in the present work has allowed the following assertions. For the Inuit, social distance and spatial distance are directly proportional. Abandoned houses or house ruins may in fact have been considered inhabited by the Inuit, just in a less tangible manner than in the case of simultaneous occupations. Inuit house, just like Inuit bodies, can be used to communicate, and feel, social closeness or distance. The concepts of silaqqatigiit and nunaqqatigiit lie at the core of the understanding of Inuit spatial patterning of houses.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 9607
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 177-195.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Archaeology
Date: 2010
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Canada--Newfoundland and Labrador--Labrador, Coast of
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Indians of North America--Newfoundland and Labrador--Labrador, Coast of; Inuit--Newfoundland and Labrador--Labrador, Coast of--Migrations; Inuit--Newfoundland and Labrador--Labrador, Coast of--History; Ethnohistory--Newfoundland and Labrador--Labrador, Coast of; Human settlements--Newfoundland and Labrador--Labrador, Coast of; Land settlement patterns--Social aspects--Newfoundland and Labrador--Labrador, Coast of; Labrador (N.L.)--Labrador, Coast of--Historical geography

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