Labrador Archaic

The distinctive tools and weapons of the Labrador Archaic people included narrow spear or dart points with a stemmed base for hafting, flaked stone knives and, in some cases, small scrapers for preparing hides.


Labrador Archaic

 The Labrador Archaic is an ancient culture of the LABRADOR coast, the first distinctive archaeological tradition to have developed in this easternmost region of Canada. The people of the Labrador Archaic first reached the north shore of the Strait of Belle Isle about 9000 years ago as part of a population expansion of earlier peoples who resided in the Maritime Provinces. In the millennia that followed, this northeastward spread continued until northernmost Labrador was occupied more than 6000 years ago.

The distinctive tools and weapons of the Labrador Archaic people included narrow spear or dart points with a stemmed base for hafting, flaked stone knives and, in some cases, small scrapers for preparing hides. As time went on polished stone woodworking tools - axes, adzes and gouges - were added to the tool inventory. Several regional and temporal variants of the Labrador Archaic are now recognized, including a distinctive Sandy Cove phase on the central coast and a lesser known Naksak complex on the north coast. During the time of these complexes, from about 6000 until 5000 years ago, a distinctive translucent grey stone raw material - Ramah chert - was discovered in northern Labrador and became a hallmark of Labrador Archaic technology.

Labrador Archaic people were hunters of both marine and land mammals and undoubtedly also took advantage of the birds, fish and vegetable foods that are available along the coast and on the near interior. ARCHAEOLOGISTS have traced a series of developments in housing styles from single family "boulder pit" houses in now-elevated rocky beaches, to "longhouses" of the Rattlers Bight period, which consist of series of hearths that can stretch for an many as 80 meters along raised beaches.

Following about 5000 years ago the various regional variants were unified into a single complex, which was found along the central and north coasts until the Labrador Archaic tradition disappeared without a trace some time after about 3500 years ago.