Going to the Birds: Examining the Importance of Avian Resources to Pre-Dorset Subsistence Strategies on Southern Baffin Island

S. Brooke Milne and Sarah M. Donnelly

Abstract

The Mosquito Ridge site is located near the Great Plain of the Koukdjuak in the interior of south central Baffin Island. This plain supports hundreds of thousands of nesting waterfowl every year throughout the spring and summer. During the annual moult these birds present a rich and reliable food source for human populations in the region. Typically, subsistence strategies in the Arctic warm season are synonymous with caribou hunting and not with exploiting avian resources. However, the Pre-Dorset people who occupied Mosquito Ridge came to the site to take advantage of this abundance in birds. This paper discusses the faunal assemblage excavated from Mosquito Ridge and explains where this site fits in the seasonal resource exploitation strategies practiced by the Pre-Dorset on southern Baffin Island.

  • S. Brooke Milne and Sarah M. Donnelly, Department of Anthropology, McMaster University 1280 Main Street West, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8S 4L9

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