The Okak Archaeological Sites in northern Labrador represent a microcosm of more than 5000 years of Prehistory of that region. Excavations have revealed sites of 4 major cultures that occupied the area. The earliest of these is a southern-derived Indigenous culture now known as the Labrador Archaic tradition. This is the oldest known occupation on the coast of Labrador.
About 4000 years ago a new people, known to archaeologists as Early Palaeo-Inuit (see Pre-Dorset) arrived from the north and expanded southward. These people continued to move southward along the Labrador coast. Eventually, for a brief period, they populated the island of Newfoundland. In the Okak region, the Dorset replaced them approximately 2,500 years ago. The origin of the Dorset people and culture is still a matter of debate among arctic archaeologists. They, in turn, apparently became extinct sometime following 1200 CE. This may have been at the same time that the Thule people, prehistoric ancestors of the present-day Labrador Inuit, arrived from the north. The Labrador Inuit successfully occupied the coast of Labrador until the present day. They continued to spread southward beginning more than 600 years ago. Eventually they settled, at least briefly, as far south as the Quebec Lower North Shore.
See also Archaeology.