Most people in Newfoundland and Labrador do not realize just how long the Beothuk lived in the province; their ancestors first arrived on the Island around 1500 years ago. The photo below shows a selection of chert (stone) arrowheads made by Beothuk ancestors around 1000 years ago. They were found by Dr. Schwarz in the late 1980s at the Triton Brook 1 site on the south shore of Gambo Pond in eastern Newfoundland. This site was the largest and most productive of the sites excavated on Gambo Pond. The site also contained a Dorset Pre-Inuit component. There were at least two hearth (fireplace)/midden (refuse dump) features that contained charcoal, firecracked rock, bone, and calcined (burned) bone fragments, as well as chipped stone flakes and artifacts.
At the Beothuk archaeological site of Boyd’s Cove (and several other sites on the island), arrowheads similar to these have been found below archaeological layers that contain both European goods modified by the Beothuk and the same types of arrowheads, thus showing that the users of the stone tools were Beothuk ancestors.
To learn more about the Beothuk you can visit the Beothuk Interpretation Centre at Boyd’s Cove.
In November of 2020 we wrote another post explaining how there is evidence for an unbroken occupation of the island of Newfoundland by the Beothuk and their ancestors entitled ‘Unbroken – nearly 1500 years of Beothuk‘
Below are two Dorset Pre-Inuit tools from the west coast of the island of Newfoundland. The first is a chipped chert harpoon endblade, it was literally the end of the harpoon used to hunt sea mammals. The other is a ground slate tool which would have been hafted in a handle and used for cutting and engraving lines in soft material such as wood, bone or antler. The Dorset existed in the Province from ~2500 years ago to just after 1000 years ago.