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Plan of Early Thule Inuit house 15, Skraeling Island, after McCullough (1989: 55). 

Plan of Early Thule Inuit house 15, Skraeling Island, after McCullough (1989: 55). 

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Article
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This paper presents the faunal material excavated from an Early Thule Inuit semisubterranean house, house 15, from the Skraeling Island site (SfFk-4). In an effort to understand how the occupants of the house interacted with animals, a fine-grained zooarchaeological analysis is employed. Patterning in taxonomic and bone modification frequencies, sk...

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... and McCullough 1980; McCullough 1989). Seventeen of the Thule winter houses appear in five clusters, with the remaining six staggered across the site. All of them have been at least partially excavated (McCullough 1989). This text focuses on the distribution of faunal material from house 15 and its associated midden. Three radiocarbon dates were obtained from the structure. A sample of Norse wool produced a radiocarbon date of A.D. 1190±60 calibrated years (sample number GSC3038); however, a date of A.D. 1300±80 based on willow and A.D. 1370±60 based on heather were also obtained (sample numbers GSC2924 and GSC3059; ibid.: 241). These dates, in addition to several Early Thule Inuit artefacts, which include fragments of pottery forged in Alaska (Schledermann and McCullough 1980), suggest that the house was occupied by Early Thule Inuit pioneers sometime during the 13th century. House 15 exhibited the most substantial superstructure at the site and incorporated a larger quantity of whalebone than all other house structures. McCullough (1989: 54) estimated a minimum of two bowhead whales were used to construct the house. This house had a single room measuring 3.9 x 3.4 m, whose front portion was flagged with stones and fragments of whale scapulae and mandibles (Figure 2). A raised sleeping platform was identified at the rear of the structure where the flagstones end and where a gravel brim appears along each side of the central floor. Walrus bones were also incorporated into the structure, notably seven skulls and mandibles embedded in the north wall (McCullough 1989). A substantial kitchen extension had been built to the east of the house. The kitchen tunnel was 1.3 m x 75 cm wide and approximately 60 cm high. The kitchen itself measured 2.9 m x 1.8 m and the rear cooking platform had three separate hearth units. At the south end of the kitchen, an alcove presumably functioned as a meat locker (ibid.: 54). House 15 was situated between two additional winter house structures, houses 14 and 16, which obliterated the east and west walls of the house, an indication that they were constructed after house 15 had been abandoned. After abandonment, house 15 appears to have served as a midden for the neighbouring structures (McCullough 1989). Analysis was performed on all the faunal remains from house 15, except for those from part of the entrance tunnel. Discussion here will be limited, however, to the faunal remains from the floor level, from the sleeping platform, and from below the flagstones. The upper levels were considered fill and not included for analysis because my concern was how the occupants of house 15 interacted with animals. In addition, six m 2 of a midden were excavated in front of house 15’s entrance tunnel, and its faunal remains also analysed for the following discussion. Zooarchaeological analysis can offer valuable insights into how past peoples behaved and how they interacted with animals, in particular by informing us about the role of animals in the diet, in social relations, and in symbolism (Russell 2012). Animal bones are, however, distributed at archaeological sites in ways that result not only from past human behaviours but also from taphonomic processes (Lyman 1994, 2008). The role of these processes is thus considered at each stage of the analysis. In ...

Citations

... Villagran et al., 2011). Others have worked to better differentiate feasting from cleaning rubbish deposited in different contexts (Howse, 2013;Maxwell, 2003). Thus, more spatial and statistical comparisons of faunal records by context can lead to more diverse interpretations of feasting practice. ...
Article
Contextual taphonomy is an archaeological approach that integrates taphonomic variables with stratigraphy and context, often at the intra-site level. A majority of zooarchaeological research explores vertebrate taphonomy broadly by entire temporal levels of sites, thus aggregating multiple contexts by time period. Yet, an increasing number of high-resolution studies go beyond this level to explore taphonomy per context or by other meaningful intra-site divisions. This approach marshals the rich information offered by the well-established discipline of taphonomy to build depositional histories of site features that contain bones, thereby revealing their formation and use. Here, we aim to better formalize the definition of contextual taphonomy for zooarchaeology and demonstrate its great applicability through select case studies in Israel. In this summary of the approach for the Special Issue on “Contextual Taphonomy in Zooarchaeological Practice”, we lay out the main requirements for multi-scalar contextual analysis and caution against potential pitfalls. Ultimately, archaeofaunal taphonomic studies at the context level are pertinent for myriad research questions, including those of refuse maintenance, camp organization and feasting.
... Late Dorset relied more heavily on a variety of spring/summer migrants (Table 4; Howse 2016). In the Thule Inuit archaeofaunas, although migratory bird species were present, they were much less common (Table 4; Howse 2013Howse , 2016. A few harp seal bones were found in both samples. ...
... In the Smith Sound region, where caribou is infrequent and there are dramatic fluctuations in caribou populations (Roby and Thing 1985), Late Dorset took higher frequencies of muskox and arctic hare, in addition to arctic fox (Table 3; see also Darwent 2001), which would have been important alternative sources of fur. At the Thule Inuit Smith Sound site, the most frequent fur bearer in the faunal sample is dog/ wolf, perhaps suggesting in this region Thule Inuit acquired fur when needed from the dogs they had on hand (Howse 2013). Interestingly, Late Dorset also took higher frequencies of high-ranking resources that are not abundant in each region, including seals at Iqaluktuuq and caribou at the Grinnell Peninsula and Smith Sound sites. ...
Article
Full-text available
This paper investigates human-animal interaction in two very different hunter-gatherer societies, Late Dorset and Thule Inuit, who once occupied the eastern Arctic (Canadian Arctic and Greenland). I focus on their disparate hunting technologies in order to achieve a nuanced understanding of how cultural factors influenced this relationship and to ultimately better understand why Late Dorset disappeared from the archaeological record. I assess how hunting technologies impacted each society's archaeofaunas and describe what appear to be culturally distinct trends in the faunal remains. In light of these findings, differences between Late Dorset and Thule Inuit hunting strategies, and other societal aspects including labour organization, hierarchy, and food provisioning is considered. This research discusses how generalized versus specialized hunting technologies impacted the social trajectory of each society, and methodologically, it provides a case study for how the use of specialized technologies can be viewed in the archaeological record. http://rdcu.be/GPDU
... Late Dorset relied more heavily on a variety of spring/summer migrants (Table 4; Howse 2016). In the Thule Inuit archaeofaunas, although migratory bird species were present, they were much less common (Table 4; Howse 2013Howse , 2016. A few harp seal bones were found in both samples. ...
... In the Smith Sound region, where caribou is infrequent and there are dramatic fluctuations in caribou populations (Roby and Thing 1985), Late Dorset took higher frequencies of muskox and arctic hare, in addition to arctic fox (Table 3; see also Darwent 2001), which would have been important alternative sources of fur. At the Thule Inuit Smith Sound site, the most frequent fur bearer in the faunal sample is dog/ wolf, perhaps suggesting in this region Thule Inuit acquired fur when needed from the dogs they had on hand (Howse 2013). Interestingly, Late Dorset also took higher frequencies of high-ranking resources that are not abundant in each region, including seals at Iqaluktuuq and caribou at the Grinnell Peninsula and Smith Sound sites. ...
Conference Paper
This paper investigates human and animal interaction in two very different hunter-gatherer societies, Late Dorset and Thule Inuit, who once occupied the eastern Arctic. To access cultural differences I focus on how disparate hunting technologies impacted each society’s archaeofaunas, and describe what appear to be culturally distinct trends in the faunal remains. In light of these findings, differences between Late Dorset and Thule Inuit hunting strategies, and other societal aspects including labor organization, hierarchy, and prestige are considered. How generalized versus specialized hunting technologies impacted the trajectory of each society is also discussed.
... In particular, such information has been critical to the understanding of late prehistoric hunter/gatherer plant and animal use (e.g . Hartery 2006;Howse 2013;Lepofsky et al. 1996;Zutter 2009). A notable exception is the island of Newfoundland where the extinction of the Beothuk has left a gap in the ethnohistoric and ethnographic records that has had a profound effect on the interpretation in Beothuk archaeology (Holly 2003;Kristensen and Davis 2015). ...
Article
The direct historical approach, which draws cultural links between the historic and prehistoric past at specific locations, has a longstanding, and at times controversial, history in archaeological interpretation. Evidence from this and related approaches, such as ethnohistorical reconstruction, historical linguistics, oral tradition, and native folklore, is widely employed today by North American archaeologists. It is also a commonly held idea that ethnoarchaeological models are most valuable when they can be linked through historical documentation to past cultures in the same region. The direct historical approach, where applicable, can provide a reliable form of analogical reasoning in ethnoarchaeological studies. However, the historical record is not equal in each region, and researchers must take into account the level of cultural change due to European contact. This paper uses selected examples from northern North America to revisit the role of the direct historical approach in ethnoarchaeological research.
Article
Full-text available
This article highlights the relationship between walruses and humans in and around the North Water polynya in a long-term perspective. The present study draws on a combination of biological, archaeological, archaeo-zoological, historical, and ethnographic sources covering the period from the 8th century AD to the late 20th century. The study demonstrates that the walrus was an important resource of meat, blubber, and other products throughout all the studied periods, if always supplemented by other kinds of game. It is suggested that walrus distribution and behaviour, as well as hunting strategies and technologies historically constituted a powerful component not only in forming human action and social life in the region but also in serving as an imaginative resource. It is further argued that the walrus and the walrus hunt still play a significant role in the present community living on the edge of the North Water, even if the hunt is increasingly circumscribed due to changing ice conditions.
Article
This report re-examines the Morris Bay Kayak, which was discovered in Washington Land, Northwest Greenland in 1921. Kayaks rarely preserve archaeologically, and the find is especially significant because the closest Inuit group, the Inughuit, were thought to have lost the technology sometime before the nineteenth century. In this context, radiocarbon dating of caribou antler pieces from the kayak places the date of the assemblage as surprisingly recent. Through comparison with regional assemblages, we argue that the Morris Bay Kayak is representative of a locally developed tradition of kayaking that was practiced until shortly before the colonial period and that this has important implications for understanding the deeper history of Inughuit open-water hunting. Spanish Este informe examina nuevamente el Kayak de Bahía Morris, que fue descubierto en tierra de Washington, al noroeste de Groenlandia en 1921. Los kayaks raramente se conservan arqueológicamente, y el hallazgo es especialmente significativo porque el grupo Inuit más cercano, los Inughuit, se pensaba que habían perdido esta tecnología en algún momento antes del siglo XIX. En este contexto, la datación por radiocarbono de piezas de asta de caribú del kayak asocian estos restos a una fecha sorprendentemente reciente. Mediante la comparación con conjuntos regionales, argumentamos que el Kayak de Bahía Morris representa una tradición desarrollada localmente del uso de kayaks que se practicaba hasta poco antes de la época colonial, y discutimos las implicaciones que esto tiene para la comprensión de la historia más profunda de la caza en aguas abiertas de los Inughuit.