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Port au Choix National Historic Site of Canada

History

Recent Indians

Recent discoveries in 1990 by Priscilla Renouf and her team, show a "Recent Indian" presence at Port au Choix around the time the Dorset Paleoeskimos disappeared from the area. Recent Indians lived on the island of Newfoundland from 2000 to 300 years ago, post dating the Maritime Archaic Indians. By 300 years B.P. these Indians are recognized in historic documents as Beothuk.

At Port au Choix two groups of Recent Indians have been identified at the "Spence Site." The earlier group, dating around 1300 to 1400 B.P. has been identified as the "Beaches Complex" found elsewhere on the island. The later group discovered a short distance away dates from 1000 to 800 B.P. and is part of the "Little Passage Complex" known to inhabit the island from 1000 to 300 B.P.

Unlike the Paleoeskimos, the Recent Indians of Port au Choix were more like the Maritime Archaic Indians. They were not marine specialists to the extent of the Paleoeskimos but had a more generalized economy, using resources from both the sea and land. This being the case they chose to camp in sheltered coves around the present-day town instead of the exposed coast of Phillip's Garden. The sheltered coves allowed these people places where they could easily launch boats or travel inland.

As a result, prehistoric Indian occupation of the area occurred in and around the present-day town of Port au Choix, while the Paleo-eskimo occupation took place away from the town in what now is the historic site. Therefore the Indian sites are likely to have been disturbed where as the Paleoeskimo sites remain largely intact.