EARLY AND MIDDLE ARCHAIC CULTURES IN THE MARITIME PROVINCES?
Publication Type:Conference Paper
It has been asserted that Early and Middle Archaic cultures, if they existed at all, left no trace in the archaeological record of the Maritime Provinces. Field work in Maine, plus a reanalysis of older collections, has reopened the issue. There is new evidence for deeply-buried (2m and more) occupations in Maine riverine settings that may be up to 10,000 years old. Artifacts associated with these early Holocene dates do not meet our expectations based on southern New England sites. The unequivocal presence of such cultures in Maine suggests that similar cultures should be found in the Maritimes, especially where similar geologic processes have occurred. Identification of Early and Middle Archaic assemblages in Maine awaited resources necessary to open up deep excavation units. Although few riverine sections have been excavated in the Maritimes, it is possible to reassess collections based on our new data from Maine. Flaked slabs of phyllite and comparable lithologies, nimerous stone rods or abraders, extensive use of quartz when locally available, a ground slate technology, and unrecognized biface traditions may constitute some of the characteristic Early and Middle Archaic assemblages. An examination of existing Maritime Provinces collections suggests this region was also inhabited between 10,000 and 5,000 B.P.