Presentation on theme: "Pre-Columbian Archaeology of North America"— Presentation transcript:
1 Pre-Columbian Archaeology of North America Weeks 6:Regional Chronologies –The Arctic and Sub-arctic
2 Regional DivisionsIn the study of aboriginal peoples in North America, both ethnographic and archaeological, the continent is generally divided into a number of regionsThese will for the basis for our discussions of regional chronologiesThe focus will here will be on the Holocene
3 Regional Characteristics (1) ArcticStretching from western Alaska across the entire continent to GreenlandArea north of the tree lineClassic tundra conditions during the Holocene.Cold, desert-like conditions.Growing season ranges from 50 to 60 days.Average winter temperature is -34° CAverage summer temperature is 3-12° CYearly precipitation, including melting snow, is 1525 cmFloraLow shrubs, sedges (Cyperaceae), reindeer moss (Cladonia rangifera), liverworts (Hepaticae), and grasses400 varieties of flowerscrustose and foliose lichenSedges – šáchorovitéReindeer moss: lišejník sobíLiverwort: játrovka, játerník
9 Arctic Fauna: Marine Mammals (1) Seals (true/eared)Harp seal (Phoca groenlandicus) tuleň gronskýAdult males grow to about 1.7 m and 130 kg; females are smallerRinged seal (Phoca hispida) tuleň kroužkovanýAdult ringed seals are cm in length and weigh kgRibbon seal (Phoca fasciata) tuleň pruhovanýAdult ribbon seals average cm in length and kg in weightBearded seal (Erignathus barbatus) tuleň vousatýAdult seals are m in length, and weigh about kgWalrus (Odobenus rosmarus) mrožAtlantic walrus males average 3.0 m in length and weigh approximately kg. Pacific walrus males are somewhat larger, averaging 3.2 m and approximately 1200 kg. Females are generally smallerNorthern fur seal (Callorhinus ursinus) lachtan medvědíAdult male 2 m, kg. Average adult female 1.3 m, kg
11 Arctic Fauna: Marine Mammals (2) Whales (toothed/baleen – ozubení/kosticovici)Beluga (Didelphinapterus leucas) běluhaAdults measure m and weigh kgNarwhal (Monodon monoceros) narvalAdults: m, kg, tooth: 2-3 m in lengthGray whale (Eschrichtius robustus) plejtvákovec šedýAdults are m long and weigh about 33,000 kgNorthern right whale (Eubalaena glacialis) velryba biskajskáAdults are m long and weigh about 54,000 kgBowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus) velryba gronskáAdults are m long and weigh 72-91,000 kgPolar bear (Ursus maritimus) medvěd ledníMale polar bears grow two to three times the size of female polar bearsMales weigh about 350 to more than 650 kg and are about m longFemales about 150 to 250 kg and are about 2 to 2.5 m
14 Physical Anthropology Modern groups in the Arctic form a group distinct from the rest of the Americas’ aboriginal inhabitantsThis can be seen in a number of physiological and linguistic areasEskimo-Aleut languages are related to languages spoken in eastern Siberia and not to other languages of North AmericaBlood type distribution (see table)Y-chromosome and mtDNA differences32 Y-chromosome haplotypesAppears to indicate relationship (Haplotype 31) with groups in central SiberiaGroupType OType AType BType ABEskimo (Alaska)38441315Indians (USA)791641Navajo7327Blackfoot1782Czech30189
15 Genetic distance between human populations based on research by Cavalii-Sforza
16 Figure 4. Distribution of haplogroup frequencies (pie charts) among Amerindian populations does not correspond in any simple way to language-group affiliations, suggesting that a tripartite model of migration to the New World (based on three hypothesized language groups) may be too simple. However, virtually all of the northern Na-Dene mtDNAs belong to haplogroup A, whereas those of the southern Na-Dene also include some from haplogroups B, C and D, indicating that the southern populations have mixed with the neighboring Amerindian populations since their arrival in the American Southwest some 500-to-1, 000 years ago. Certain other trends are also evident: Haplogroup A declines in frequency from north to south, whereas haplogroups C and D increase in frequency. By contrast, there is no obvious clinal distribution for haplogroup B (aside from its absence in northern North America). Whether these distributions reflect the original pattern of settlement in the Americas or subsequent genetic differentiation is not entirely clear.From “Mitochondrial DNA and the Peopling of the New World” by Theodore G. Schurr. In American Scientist, 2000:8(3)
17 Arctic (1) Arctic Small Tool tradition 4200 – 2800 BP First identified in 1964 at Cape Denbigh, Seward Peninsula (Alaska)Spread from eastern Siberia where microblade technology has a long tradition.Considered to be ancestral to modern Inuit/Eskimo peoplesFirst occupation of northernmost regions, including GreenlandFinely made microblades, spalled burins, small side and end scrapers, and side and end bladesProjectile points are triangular or pointed at both ends.StructuresWest: small camps and larger base camps with semi-subterranean, sod roofed housesEast: Oval and circular dwellings are indicated by rings of boulders probably were used to hold down the edges of a tent. Charcoal and burnt bone found in the interior of the tent ring indicates that the shelter was heated with a central fire. As well circular soapstone dishes may have been used as lamps or heating vessels.Diverse economic activities including hunting (caribou (R. tarandus) and sea mammals), fishingBurin A tool flaked into a chisel point for inscribing or grooving bone, wood, leather, stone or antlerSpalls The unused flakes left from flint knapping.
18 Arctic (2)Coastal regions of southeastern Alaska were distinct in having strongly maritime traditionsImportance of slate tools, evidence of greater cultural complexity (mortuary rituals)On the Aleutian Islands, there is the Aleutian Tradition which continues up to the modern era (c AD)A core and flake tradition, with bifacial projectile points and knives, adzes and ulu blades, chisels, and awls (etc.), that remained fairly stable throughout the life of the tradition. There are also elaborate bone harpoon heads, and bone and ivory ornaments, whose shifting styles help date sites.
19 Knives Left: Ulu (woman’s knife) made of ground slate in a bone handle Right: Man’s knife made from ivory
20 Arctic (3) Norton Tradition Evolved out of Arctic Small Tool tradition 3000 – 1200 BPRestricted to the western Arctic (Alaska)Stone tool assemblage similar to ASTtAn Arctic Small Tool tradition tool base except microblades and the burin technology is gone; first pottery vessels (fiber-tempered, stamped pottery from Asia) and stone lamps for burning oil; toggling harpoons and polished slate implements.Structures/Residence PatternFirst definitive shift toward establishing permanent settlements on the seacoast; substantial year-round semi-subterranean houses; dense long-term occupation (hundreds of houses occur at some sites)Elaborate ivory carvingsPerhaps related to Siberian stylesMajor changes in subsistence strategiesA more maritime focus, year round sea mammal hunting both in open water and through winter ice, intensive fishing; caribou and small mammal hunting remain important in early part of this period.
21 Arctic (4) Dorset Tradition Found in eastern Arctic 1800 – 900 BP Also develops out of ASTtDifferent subsistence strategyThe winter/spring season focused on sea mammal hunting (whales, seals, walrus); in the summer and fall, caribou were hunted with spears and fish (salmon, char) captured with fish harpoons and compound leisters in rivers.Rectangular, semi-subterranean winter houses, winter snow houses (igloos), and round summer tends were built.Tools include snow knives, blubber lamps, a ground slate industry, distinctive harpoon head forms, sealing projectile points.Elaborate and highly evolved artistic tradition that includes carved wood, bone, and ivory depictions of humans, spirit monsters, and animals; objects are of a magico-religious nature; supernatural universe.Lacks many elements found in the Norton and later traditions, including harpoon floats, the maupok method of hunting seals at breathing holes, dog sleds, cold-trap entrances for houses, bow and arrows, throwing boards (they used simple lances and harpoons).Disappears
22 Arctic (5) Thule Tradition Begins c BP in the Bering Straights regionExpands eastward, replacing the Dorset Tradition by c. 900 BP in all areas (including Greenland)This is the modern Inuit/Eskimo cultureBy c. AD 1000, all the major items of historic Eskimo culture existed throughout the Alaskan coast, including fully equipped kayaks, umiaks, dog sleds, harpoon line floats, sunken houses with deep entrances, heavy use of polished slate tools, pottery (thick and gravel tempered), and a wide variety of specialized tools and weapons (e.g., components for specialized arrows, darts, and spears for fish, birds, and different size sea mammals; toggling and non-toggling harpoons; dart heads for land mammals; snow goggles). An extensive organic inventory survives in the archaeological record. These items revolutionized coastal life throughout the Arctic. Some appear in the archaeological for the first time (kayaks, umiaks, dog sleds, efficient toggling harpoons, harpoon line floats, harpoon mounted ice picks). Objects of iron (demonstrating contact with Siberian peoples.Umiak: an open boat made from a wooden or bone frame and covered with animal skins, usually using broad paddles
23 Arctic (6)Thule was a highly specialized culture that emphasized whale hunting where possible and winter ice hunting. Large villages at favorable whaling locations organized economically and ceremonially into whaling crews and whaleboat owning entrepreneurs as in the historic period.Their art is a high point of all Eskimo art traditions. Elaborate carved ivory objects. Changes through time in this tradition seen mainly in differences in harpoon styles and art motifs.Thule Expansion Eastward. After c. AD 900, Thule traits and people move southward to the Pacific coast, into the Alaskan interior (e.g., Arctic Woodland culture), and across northern Canada to Greenland. Probably related to a warm weather cycle (Medieval Warm Period) that shifted pack ice northward and changed path of sea-mammal migrations. Retreated after AD 1300 in cold period.In eastern regions pottery replaced by soapstone vesselsHunters of seals, walrus, and large whales. Used seal-skin covered kayak and more substantial umiak for hunting and rapid transportation in summer; dog sleds in winter. Used bow and arrow for caribou and musk ox. Harpoons often propelled by throwing board.Three house types.Snow house, tent (animal skin), sod house (wood/bone and stone frame covered in earth)
24 Arctic Small Tool Tradition Illustrations A: Map B: A complete flaked stone end-blade from the Arctic Small Tool tradition C: A fragment of a flaked stone end-blade (i.e, the sharp blade that would be mounted at the tip of a bone, antler or ivory harpoon or spear) D: This Arctic Small Tool tradition tent ring is referred to as a "mid-passage" house. The outer ring of rocks would have weighed down the edges of a tent. The "mid-passage" is formed by the parallel lines of rocks dividing the interior of the house; at the center of the mid-passage there is a small hearth or fireplace in which willow twigs or driftwood would have been burned.
25 Norton Tradition Illustrations A: Ivory figurine, c. 1900 BP Norton Tradition Illustrations A: Ivory figurine, c BP. Markings on the smaller face demonstrate tattooing B: Difference between a non-toggling and toggling harpoon, which toggles beneath the skin and blubber where it cannot be broken off by ice and holds heavier prey like whales and walrus. C: Stone lamps
26 Dorset Tradition Illustrations A: Map B: Top left to right: flaked stone end-blade to fit in the tip of a harpoon head; 3 harpoon heads; a so-called "spatula" carving; bottom: a harpoon foreshaft and harpoon head. C: Ivory doll, 7 cm tall
32 Subterranean Thule House Devon Island, Canadian Arctic
33 Sub-arctic Sub-arctic Runs across the whole of the continent, from interior Alaska to Labrador peninsula and NewfoundlandTaiga (continuous coniferous forest)The taiga is a moist sub-arctic forest that begins where the tundra ends.Winters are long, dark and cold with lots of snow (min. - 60°C)Summers are warm and short when the daylight can be up to 20 hours long (max. 40°C).Annual precipitation between mmMajor type of vegetation is coniferous evergreens.Fir (Abiesi), spruce (Picea), birch (Betula), juniper (Juniperus), tamarack (Larix)Non-coniferous trees and plantsAlder (Alnus), aspen (Populus), willowLichens, mosses, sedges, grasses, bushes, berriesfir=jedle; spruce=smrk; birch=bříza; juniper=jalovec; tamarck=modřín; alder=olše; aspen=osika;
36 Sub-Arctic Northern Archaic 6500 – 2500 BPResearch inhibited by a general lack of well-stratified sites, impact of climate, size of regionParticularly in western half of regionNorthern variant of generalized Archaic found throughout North AmericaTechnologically related to ASTtMicroblades, burinsDepended on caribou and fishing in rivers and streams for their livelihood, staying inland and near the trees most of the time.Most probably represents ancestral Indian populations as opposed to paleo-Eskimo.Throughout this region Arctic and Sub-Arctic traditions expanded and retracted depending on variations in the climateArchaic hunters of ultimate eastern North American origin, possessing notched projectile points, spread northward from the Plains with the expanding boreal forest to displace indigenous populations whose tool kits were characterized by microblades (ASTt)Known as Shield Cultures in east.
37 Shield Cultures (1)Both Late Eastern Shield and Late Western Shield cultures developed out of the Middle Shield culture (6,000 to 2,500 BP)2500 BP to European contact (17th to 19th centuries)The basis for distinguishing between these two closely related cultures is largely technological as their settlement patterns and subsistence practices were very similar, if not identical, in most instances.Late Eastern Shield culture retained the older stone working traditions of their predecessors whereas Late Western Shield culture continued a late Middle Shield culture development in the west that involved abandoning the use of massive siliceous deposits, such as quartzite and rhyolite, with their resulting large bifacial and unifacial tools, in favour of Hudson Bay Lowlands nodular cherts with their comparatively diminutive tool products.While both cultures made extensive use of local veins of quartz as expedient cutting and scraping chunks and flakes, the practice appears to have been far more common in the east. Late Eastern Shield culture also rejected pottery vessels as an important item in their tool kit unlike their western kinsmen.
38 Shield Cultures (2)In fact, the limited pottery from Late Eastern Shield sites may simply represent the products of Late Western Shield culture and Late Great Lakes-St. Lawrence culture women moving from their homelands in the west and south to join the bands of their husbands to the north and east. Occurrences of pottery becomes progressively sparse as one advances eastward and northward and thus further away from the homelands of the hypothesized cultures within which it represented a significant element of technology.This progressively fading pattern of pottery vessel distribution to the east maintains itself into Period V (A.D. 500 to European contact) where the East Cree, Montagnais (Naskapi), and Attikamek of Late Eastern Shield culture territory basically rejected pottery manufacturing unlike their western and southern kinsmen the West Main Cree, Algonquin, Southern and Northern Ojibwa, Western Woods Cree, and the Late Winnipeg Saulteaux. What pottery does occur is clearly related to western styles and was likely a product of women from western bands joining their husbands in the eastern bands.Subsistence and settlement patterns remain unchanged from the preceding period and, for that matter, were to remain unchanged up to the time of European contact.Sites such as the Chicoutimi site at the juncture of the Saugenay and Chicoutimi rivers contained occupational debris spanning more than 3,000 years and terminated with a historical documented Montagnais occupation. Unfortunately the cultural deposits at this site were hopelessly intermixed. Like other large sites, the Chicoutimi site was a favourable location where a band or, more likely, a number of bands gathered on a seasonal basis.
39 Western/Northwestern Sub-Arctic 2500 BP to European Contact (nineteenth century)Interior culture must be viewed in relationship to its geographical setting. The region is physiographically dominated by the northwest trending Cordillera consisting of coastal and interior mountain ranges with intervening smaller mountain ranges and plateaus.Major drainages are the Yukon and the Mackenzie, two of the largest river systems in the world.Within this complex mosaic of landforms, small hunting bands relied upon fish and caribou as well as regionally and seasonally available small game, waterfowl, moose, and berries.To survive in a region with widely dispersed food resources and peak periods of abundance and scarcity has always demanded a broadly based and flexible foraging pattern.
40 Distribution of Sub-Arctic Cultures: Map III - Cultural Distributions, 4,000 to 1,000 B.C. A Middle Maritime | B Middle Great Lakes-St. Lawrence | C Middle Shield | D Middle Plains | E Middle Plateau | F Early West Coast | G Middle Northwest Interior | H Early Palaeo-Eskimo
41 Interior projectile points (Yukon): wide range of sizes, shapes, styles