This post was originally written in 2011. I’ve updated the charts and numbers to reflect the current data. The old bar graphs are blue and marked 2011; the updated bar graphs are red and marked 2016.
There are nearly 5500 recorded archaeological sites in Newfoundland and Labrador. In 2011, the number was nearly 5000. The bar graphs above show the number of cultural components at those sites. However, before you start adding up the numbers to try to get the exact number of archaeological sites you need to know that the number of sites will not equal the number of 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 a European (English, French, Dutch) and a Beothuk cultural component. So it’s one site with two cultural components.
Looking at the ~1900 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 Post-contact and for Newfoundland and Labrador the cut off is generally seen as ~ 1497 A.D..
Of the ~5000 sites, 3131 have a Post-contact 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 Post-contact graph.
You’ll also notice that in both the Precontact and Post-contact 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?
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