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There are nearly 5000 recorded archaeological sites in Newfoundland and Labrador.   Before you start adding up the numbers in the bar graph above to get the exact number of archaeology sites you need to know that the number of sites will not equal the number cultures represented at those sites.  The reason is sites can have more than one culture.  For example, Ferryland, the 17th century English colony founded in 1621 by George Calvert, later Lord Baltimore, has an English, French, Dutch and a Beothuk cultural component.

For the Island there are ~ 1700 known sites, while in Labrador there are about ~3100 recorded sites.

Notice the breakdown of cultural components of the Labrador archaeology sites above and those of the island portion of the province below.

Looking at the ~ 1700 sites from the Island portion of the province I was surprised that there were so many European cultural components, and even more surprised when I realized the Newfoundland European cultural components out-number the Labrador European cultural components nearly 2 to 1.

Any other observations?  Is there anything in the graphs that you were surprised to learn?

Of the ~5000 sites for the Province nearly half, or 2634,  have a Precontact component.  By Precontact I am referring to the period before prolonged exposure of Aboriginal people to Europeans.  The time period after that is Postcontact and for Newfoundland and Labrador the cut off is generally seen as ~ 1497 a.d..

Of the ~5000 sites,  3131 have a Postcontact cultural component.  Some of these numbers may be questioned.  For example, many Mi’kmaq believe their ancestors were on the Island in the Precontact period.  I am not trying to refute that claim.  I am just stating that there is no archaeological evidence of Precontact Mi’kmaq sites.  Hence the Mi’kmaq are only represented on the Postcontact graph.

You’ll also notice that in both the Precontact and Postcontact graphs I have included a category titled ‘Undetermined’.  For example, some sites are comprised of a loose arrangement of stones that obviously didn’t form naturally but whose origin is not clear.

For a different perspective on these numbers see the following distribution maps.

Do you have a site, a culture or time period you are interested in that you would like to see a post about?

If you have a request for a blog post you can send me a message.

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