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Paleoenvironmental Reconstruction and Timeline of a Dorset-Thule Settlement at Quaqtaq (Nunavik, Canada)

Abstract : A geoarchaeological and paleobotanical study of a Paleoeskimo and Neoeskimo site was undertaken in order to reconstruct site-formation processes. The study site JfEl-10 is located on Igloo Island, in Diana Bay, on the southern shore of Hudson Strait. It contains a peat-mineral deposit situated between two successive beach crests, close to a small marsh. Samples from the edge of the site, which consists of a remarkable section of stratigraphy 60 cm thick that contains alternating brown organic beds and light-colored sand beds, were examined in the laboratory. Macrofossil data and pollen data were used to reconstruct the local and regional vegetation and to determine climatic changes over the past 1200 years. The geoarchaeological study includes the stratigraphy and the sedimentology of archaeological sediments. The evolution of the site followed three successive environmental phases, and the site was home to two distinct cultures. The first phase (from ca. 1200 to ca. 950 cal. yr B.P.) was characterized by cold and mesic conditions and the Dorset occupation. In the second phase, conditions became more humid beginning ca. 950 cal. yr B.P. and lasted for approximately 450 years. This period is marked by the arrival of Thule Inuit, who hunted marine mammals in the vicinity. Zooarchaeological information indicated a fall/winter occupation during the Thule Inuit period. The third phase corresponds with the onset of the Little Ice Age (A.D. 1500–1850) and associated cooling. During this time, the Thule Inuit abandoned the site. If the increased cooling caused an earlier freeze-up of Diana Bay, this may have prevented the movement of walrus to their haul-out island during fall. Additionally, the faster accumulation of thick ice would have limited the hunting of seals through their breathing holes
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Submitted on : Monday, June 13, 2016 - 3:34:53 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, January 14, 2021 - 11:48:05 AM

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Najat Bhiry, Dominique Marguerie, Susan Lofthouse. Paleoenvironmental Reconstruction and Timeline of a Dorset-Thule Settlement at Quaqtaq (Nunavik, Canada). Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research, University of Colorado at Boulder, Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, 2016, 48 (2), pp.293-313. ⟨10.1657/AAAR0015-045⟩. ⟨hal-01331183⟩



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