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TitlePalaeoeskimo demography on western Boothia Peninsula, Arctic Canada
AuthorSavelle, J M; Dyke, A S
SourceJournal of Field Archaeology vol. 34, no. 3, 2009 p. 267-283,
Alt SeriesEarth Sciences Sector, Contribution Series 20090443
PublisherInforma UK Limited
Mediapaper; on-line; digital
File formatpdf
NTS57F/04; 57F/05; 57F/12; 57F/13; 57G/04; 57G/05; 67E/01; 67E/08; 67E/09; 67E/16; 67H/01; 67H/08
AreaBoothia Peninsula; Weld Harbour; Cape Alexander
Lat/Long WENS-97.0000 -95.0000 71.5000 70.0000
Subjectsmiscellaneous; paleontology; Nature and Environment; radiocarbon dating; carbon-14 dates; Holocene; shoreline changes; sea level changes; archaeology; faunas; faunal distribution; paleoenvironment; paleoclimates; Cenozoic; Quaternary
Illustrationslocation maps; histograms; photographs; tables
Released2013 07 18
AbstractSurveys on western Boothia Peninsula in 2004 documented 483 Palaeoeskimo dwellings spanning approximately 3300 years (4500-1200 B.P in uncalibrated radiocarbon years), about the total time range for Palaeoeskimo groups in the central Canadian Arctic. On the basis of dwelling elevations above sea level and a series of radiocarbon dates, Palaeoeskimo occupation appears to have passed throough multiple boom-and-bust cycles. Following the first peopling of the region about 4500 B.P., populations rose to a maximum between about 4200 and 3600 B.P., followed by a crash. A recovery between 3200 and 2500 B.P. led to a second decline, and a final, partial recovery between 1600 and 1200 B.P. was followed by the disappearance of Palaeoeskimo groups. Although climate change cannot be ruled out as a causal factor for these cycles, there is no compelling evidence for such a scenaroio. Resource overexploitation is equally plausible, although we do not necessarily favor one cause over the other We interpret the intrasite patterns to indicate that Palaeoeskimo settlements were comprised of dispersed nuclear families or small extended families for most of the year, but annual aggregations involved 100 individuals or more. Minimal social units do not appear to have changed during seasonal aggregations in Pre-Dorset times (4500-2500 B.P.). By Dorset times (2500-700 B.P.), however, minimal social units sometimes melded together to form one or a few larger units living in one or a few large dwellings. The latter may represent the social precursor of later Dorset longhouse aggregations.

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