A B C’s of Archaeology (But not X?): Labrador

Two weeks ago I told you about how I was looking through Twitter and I happened upon a post from a history group who had started listing a series of European archaeological sites in alphabetical order by site name with a little detail about each site. That got me wondering if I could do the same for Newfoundland and Labrador; could I come up with a list of site names for all the letters of the alphabet? Turns out I could, mostly. For both the Island and mainland portions of the Province, there are multiple site names for 25 letters of the alphabet with the exception of the letter X. Below is a list of 25 randomly selected sites with a little information about each. Some of these sites I’ve told you about in previous blog posts (see the purple text).

Site Name: Alexis Bay 1
Location: About 12 km west of the mouth of Alexis Bay.              
Site Description: Cache of about 90 Ramah chert bifaces found on a barren bedrock knob with patches of lichen covering peat deposits.       
Culture: Maritime Archaic?; Recent  Period?            
Cultural Phase/Complex: Daniel Rattle complex?
Fourteen of the ninety Ramah chert bifaces from the Port Hope Simpson cache.
Location: In Groswater Bay, approximately 50km NE of Rigolet.
Site Description: The site is made up of a 50 m long string of 12 hearths, each of which were spaced 3-4 m apart and surrounded by lithic debitage, tools, fire cracked rock and charcoal.
Culture: Maritime Archaic (Southern Branch)       
Cultural Phase/Complex: Black Island complex
Site Name: Cowpath
Location: Approximately 800 m north of West St. Modeste and ca. 300 m from the coast. 
Site Description: Surface scatter and buried intact cultural layer – was probably a large lithic workshop.           
Culture: Maritime Archaic (early)
Site Name: Dog Island North
Location: On the north shore of a deep inlet on the west side of Dog Island, about 3km east of the mouth of the inlet.     
Site Description: The site is a sparse scatter of lithic artifacts in an eroded blowout at the top of the south and east side of a steep and narrow ravine.  The location offers an excellent view to the west and southwest overlooking a marshy gully.
Culture: Intermediate Period?; Recent  Period?
Site Name: English Point
Location: Along the edge of  a small brook running into the northern end of Forteau Bay, west of the village of English Point. 
Site Description: Some surface exposed and some buried lithic material – includes everything from bifaces to flakes.             
Culture: Maritime Archaic; Intermediate Period  
Cultural Phase/Complex: Saunders complex?        
Period Dates:    ca. 3500-3000
Site Name: Fox Burrow Series           
Location: West of Graveyard Point, NW of Lane’s Island, extensive flat blowouts on the upper two terraces.              
Site Description: Four chipping station loci, mostly debitage with a few tools.        
Culture: Maritime Archaic (Northern Branch)       
Cultural Phase/Complex: Rattlers Bight phase
Site Name: Graveyard          
Location: Behind a small cemetery on the north shore of Forteau Bay about 300 m inland and 800 m east of Forteau Brook.           
Site Description: This site consists of surface collected and some excavated material.
Culture: Maritime Archaic; Pre-Inuit (Late); Recent Period 
Cultural Phase/Complex:  Dorset 
Site Name: Hebron 1
Location:  At the south end of Hebron Mission Station, on a ledge overlooking the entrance to Hebron Fiord.     
Site Description:  Precontact/historic habitation site, as well as a Moravian Mission site; Moravian Mission & Inuit Settlement.         
Culture:  Maritime Archaic; Pre-Inuit (Early); Pre-Inuit (Late); Inuit; European; Euro-American
Cultural Phase/Complex: Pre-Dorset; Dorset; Canadian 
Period Dates: 18th-19th century Labrador Inuit; 1500 BP Dorset; 4000 BP Pre-Dorset; 5000 B.P. Maritime Archaic
Site Name: Igluksoatulligarsuk         
Location: Approx. 14 km south of Hopedale in a small harbour on the north side of Igluksoatulligarsuk Island (Place of Old Houses).           
Site Description: An Inuit habitation site with 9 semisubterranean houses, and 3 constructed on the ground surface in the mid-late 19th century, a tent ring, stone caches, hunting blinds, and 4 vaulted burial cairns.  
Culture: Inuit    
Period Dates: 1643 – French copper coin found at the site
Site Name: Jaeger Island     
Location: East of Nain, located on the eastern side of a small un-named island that is south of Humby’s Island.   
Site Description: This is a multi-cultural, probably hunting, site that is based on use of the nearby sina.   
Culture: Pre-Inuit (Early); Pre-Inuit (Early); Pre-Inuit (Late); Inuit 
Cultural Phase/Complex: Pre-Dorset; Groswater; Dorset          
Period Dates: 17th-18th C Inuit
Site Name: Koliktalik 6         
Location:  On the northwest coast of Koliktalik Island just northeast of three small ponds which are connected and flow west into the “Hatchery”. 
Site Description: The site was identified by Taylor (1974) as the Inuit winter settlement of Ikkegasarsuk, occupied in 1776-77 and 1778-79.  It consists of two semi-subterranean sod houses constructed in a shallow bank of gravel. 
Culture:  Pre-Inuit (Late); Inuit   
Cultural Phase/Complex: Dorset (middle) 
Period Dates:    Middle Dorset: circa. 1400 BP, Historic Inuit: late 18th century (18th century based on artifacts, up to 1779 based on ethnohistorical documentation (Taylor 1974))
Site Name: Long Point 1      
Location: Site is located on point of land 4.3 km directly south of Eskimo Island, 2km north east of Carrington Island         
Site Description: Possible tent ring with central slab fireplace.       
Culture: Undetermined 
Site Name: Moon Base Lake 2          
Location: On the flat, raised glacial, sand/boulder terrace on the southwest side of the large pond. The locality gives a good view of the pond. The surrounding area saw a low relief hill 700m to the south.            
Site Description: This site is represented by one, 6 by 4 m, cobble tent ring slightly contracted near the centre. It yielded no additional material in spite of several small test pits. Having been constructed on a 6 m high, flat, lichen-covered gravel terrace, the site is rather exposed. Given the lack of artifacts or other features near the tent ring, a short occupation of the site is suggested, probably having taken place within the last century.
Culture:  Inuit?
Moon Base Lake 2 cobble tent ring (Biggin).
Location: Head of Whyatt Harbour, south-central portion of Nukasusutok Island.  
Site Description:  Maritime Archaic habitation site with several longhouses.        
Culture:  Maritime Archaic
Looking northwest over Area 1 and Area 2 at Nukasusutok Island 5. (Brake)
Site Name: Opingiviksuak Island 2   
Location: On the northwest side of Opingiviksuak Island. It is in a sandy blowout on the first raised beach terrace.    
Site Description: Small Dorset surface site found in a series of blow outs. 
Culture: Pre-Inuit (Late)         
Cultural Phase/Complex: Dorset (middle)
Site Name: Pinware Hill       
Location:  On the south-facing slope of hills which rise behind the village of Pinware. 
Site Description:  A dense scatter of white quartz flakes over an irregular area some 15 to 20 m in diameter in a large blowout, also included an undisturbed area found in Tuck & McGhee’s survey.       
Culture: Maritime Archaic (early)
Site Name: Queer Island 1  
Location: On the SW side of Queer Island, which is at the mouth of Batteau Harbour.  
Site Description:  Fourteen sod houses, 1 stone house foundation and bawns.
Disturbed bawns were noted throughout the upper cobble terraces.
Culture:  European; Inuit?              
Period Dates: 18th-19th C
Site Name: Rose Island Site Q           
Location: On the west side of Rose Island on a small terrace above a small bay which the site overlooks to the west.      
Site Description:  Dorset axial feature with slabs and apparent upright rocks can be seen in site plan. The Maritime Archaic were present here by about 4530 years ago and used the site up to about 3890 years ago. A distinct Early Pre-Inuit occupation followed with a date of about 3830 years ago. Two separate Dorset components, with dates of about 2485 and 1780 years ago, complete the sequence.
There are also Inuit graves in the area.” 
Culture:  Maritime Archaic; Pre-Inuit (Early); Pre-Inuit (Late); Undetermined   
Cultural Phase/Complex:  Dorset
Showing the 10 identified stratigraphic bands identified at Ste Q, Rose Island (Tuck).
Site Name: Saglek B26         
Location: Near the current runway on Saglek.        
Site Description: Remains of a Martin B26 “Marauder” medium bomber of the 440 Sqn, 319 Bomb Group the “Times A Wastin” with a crew of 7 left Narsarsuaq Greenland (code name Bluie West One) heading back to the United States. The weather turned sour and the pilot was forced to crash land at the head of the Saglek Fjord in Labrador in December. The aircraft sustained minimal damage and the crew survived the impact unscathed. However, while waiting for rescue near the wreck, as they were trained to do, they all perished. The aircraft was found in April.
Culture:  Euro-American  
Cultural Phase/Complex: American            
Period Dates: 1942
Remains of the B26 in 1957.
Site Name: Tub Island 1       
Location:  On eastern end of Tub Island, maybe 5 km NE of Fish Cove community.              
Site Description:  Clustered concentrations of surface features: A) probable oval tent rings and semi-circular stone caches; B) semi-circular stone caches and burials; C & D) two isolated clusters of stone caches.    
Culture: Inuit              
Period Dates: 18th-19th C
Site Name:  Uemistikushishit Unipim 4          
Location:  On the southwest shore of Trout Pond just south of Igluvigaluk Brook.          
Site Description:  Tent frame ruins and clearings are found in the woods along at least 300 m of beach frontage.  Eight tent frames were visible; seven had rectangular spruce bough flooring and measure ~ 3x4m.  The eighth structure was 2x3m and is constructed of bent poles.     
Culture:   Innu      
Period Dates: 100 years to present
Site Name:  Valley of the Flies            
Location:   Situated along the western entrance to the Valley of the Flies, on the northern shore of Delabarre Bay.            
Site Description:  Possibly a hunting canal for caribou; the site is a series of walls with lookouts.              
Culture: Undetermined
Site Name: Wrinkle              
Location:   On the north slope of a rocky knoll on the point of land between L’Anse au Diable and Capstan Island.         
Site Description:   Cultural material was exposed on the surface in deflated patches over an irregular area.     
Culture:  Pre-Inuit (Early); Pre-Inuit (Late)
Cultural Phase/Complex:   Groswater; Dorset (middle) 
Site Name:  Youngs Harbour 4           
Location: About 40km northeast of Nain on the northeast end of the Itibliasuk Peninsula overlooking Queens Lakes Tickle.           
Site Description: Small site with no visible features just artifacts.           
Culture:  Pre-Inuit (Early); Pre-Inuit (Late)         
Cultural Phase/Complex:  Pre-Dorset; Dorset? 
Site Name:  Zoar Mission Site            
Location:  In the deep cove just seaward of the head of Takpanayok Bay.             
Site Description:  Site of the Zoar Moravian established in 1865. Mission was abandoned in 1890.            
Culture:  Inuit; European 
Period Dates:  1865-1890 A.D.

2 thoughts on “A B C’s of Archaeology (But not X?): Labrador

  1. Great list. We have such a long human history in Labrador and Newfoundland. We had human habitation in biblical times.

    1. On the Island there is Indigenous history going back ~5500 years and the Indigenous history of Labrador is ~9000 years old.

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