At the same time: Part 2

This is the continuation of a post I started two weeks ago.

5000-4000 years ago

This millennium saw the rise of Egypt’s Old Kingdom and the start of construction of the Egyptian pyramids; they would remain the tallest and largest human constructions for thousands of years. Also in Egypt, pharaohs began to posture themselves as living gods made of an essence different from that of other human beings. This period saw the first evidence of gold being used and is considered the high point of Ur in Mesopotamia. This period saw the completion of the first phase of the Stonehenge monument in England. In the Americas, the oldest known medicine wheel is constructed.

Recent research in Africa has revealed amazing 5,000-year-old skeletons lain on beds of flowers found in the Sahara showing how the desert was once green and lush.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, we see the start of occupation at sites like Aillik West 1 which is a Maritime Archaic habitation site with rectangular structures, boulder pits, fox trap-like structures, and a small stone chamber with lintel doorway. Also occupied are Nukasusutok 5 and Windy Tickle 1 both large Maritime Archaic habitation sites with longhouses. We also start to see increased Archaic occupation in the Saglek Bay area.

Looking northwest over Area 1 and Area 2 at Nukasusutok Island 5. (Brake)

Nulliak Cove longhouse. The figure is standing in the longhouse outlined by the light coloured stones. (Hutchings)

Labrador coastline 4000 years ago. The longhouse is in the background. (CMC)

On the island, the Archaic occupation of the Northern Peninsula and Bonavista Bay is well underway as evidenced by sites at Big Brook, Bird Cove, Cow Head, Beaches and Cape Cove.

At the end of this period, we see an ethnically different people enter the province from the north, the early Pre-Inuit.

4000-3000 years ago

During this millennium, we see the beginnings of Judaism, the beginning of the Iron Age, the development of the alphabet and the founding of Athens.

Recent research revealed the first temple in Peru during this period. Using a clump of hair preserved in permafrost in Greenland, geneticists identified Asia and not North America as the ancestral home to the Pre-Inuit and their descendants.

It is during this period that the Maritime Archaic cemetery at Port au Choix is first used. The Maritime Archaic on the island are still focused on the Northern Peninsula and Bonavista Bay but they are also starting to spread farther over the island including the south coast as seen at L’Anse a Flamme.

In Labrador, this period is tumultuous in terms of culture change. A new group of early Pre-Inuit are recognized, the Groswater. One of the more important Groswater sites is occupied during this period, the Postville Pentecostal Site. The Groswater are known for making some of the most skilfully crafted bifaces in the archaeological record. Their workmanship has a jewel-like quality.

Groswater bifaces (endblades) (Renouf)
Groswater bifaces (sideblades – these were mounted into the sides of harpoons to increase cutting area) (Renouf)

New groups of Indigenous people, known as the Intermediate Period, start to move into central and southern Labrador. By the end of this period, the Archaic are no longer archaeologically visible on the Island or in Labrador.

Intermediate Period biface from Sheshatshiu, Labrador. (Neilsen PAO Review 2011)
Intermediate Period biface from Sheshatshiu, Labrador. (Neilsen PAO Review 2010)

3000-2000 years ago

In this millennium, we see a rapid development of the cultures in Central America and South America including the rise of Teotihuacán in Mexico, spreading the Olmec culture as La Venta replaces San Lorenzo as the Olmec capital, ball courts appear in Olmec centres and the first Mayan hieroglyphics. In North America, Northwest Coast Indigenous populations flourish and we see the start of mound-building in eastern North America and the rise of Adena culture in Ohio.

Recent research indicates Indigenous Americans first tamed Turkeys 2,000 years ago

In Europe the first Olympiad is held, Rome is founded and the Roman Republic established.

In the province, this millennium sees the end of the Groswater Pre-Inuit in Labrador and the introduction of the Dorset Pre-Inuit to the whole province. Intermediate Period populations start to flourish in Labrador.

Dorset end blades – the one on the left has been tip fluted (Rast)

2000-1000 years ago

This millennium sees the spread of both Christianity and Islam. This period also sees the construction of Hadrians Wall by the Romans, the fluorescence of the Norse culture and the settlement of the first Norse colony in Greenland. In the Americas, this period sees the start of construction on the Pyramid of the Sun, the sacred cenote at Chichén Itzá is built, as is the Great Serpent Mound.

In this period of the province’s history the Groswater become archaeologically invisible on the island and the people who are the likely precontact ancestors of the Beothuk, the Recent Period people, are first seen in the archaeological record. This is also the high point of the Dorset Pre-Inuit culture in the whole province. In this period, the massive Phillips Garden Dorset Pre-Inuit habitation site reaches its pinnacle.

Artist’s conception of a Dorset house with whale ribs and poles and covered with seal skins. (Renouf)

1000-0 years ago

The first millennium sees the establishment of Cahokia and the founding of Cuzco.  During this millennium the magnetic compass is first used at sea, coffee is brewed for the first time, the Crusades occur, Norsemen abandon Greenland, the Black Plague ravaged Europe, Europeans meet North Americans at L’Anse aux Meadows and a few centuries later they settle here.

This millennium in the province sees the end of the most populous of precontact cultures, the Dorset Pre-Inuit. The millennium will also see the end of the descendants of the Recent Period people on the island, the Beothuk. However, not before their occupation of sites throughout Notre Dame Bay, along the Exploits River and the Red Indian Lake area. One of their best-known sites is Boyd’s Cove, which is now a Provincial Historic Site.  Boyd’s Cove contained 11 Beothuk housepits and a Recent Period occupation as well.

Excavation of several Beothuk housepits at Boyd’s Cove.

This time period also sees the introduction of the Thule in the precontact period (who we recognize today as the Inuit). We also see the arrival of the Innu and the Mi’kmaq.

Archaeological sites from this period also include the National Historic site at L’Anse aux Meadows, the only recognized Norse settlement in North America, the National Historic site at Red Bay and the first English settlement in Canada at the Provincial Historic site at Cupids.

4 thoughts on “At the same time: Part 2

  1. I appreciated and enjoyed your posting……….. wonderful idea. The archaeology of N&L has always fascinated me. Should go there for a volunteer summer when/if I ever retire from James Bay archaeology. How did I miss Part 1?. Will have to check this out.

    1. Thanks for the compliment. I honestly can’t say I know a lot about Jame Bay Archaeology.
      If you want more information about NL Archaeology, I update this blog every two weeks. Also, the NL Provincial Archaeology Office puts out an annual Archaeology Review that can be downloaded as a PDF from their website:
      It started as a 4 page newsletter but the past few years it has been 150 to 170 pages long.

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