The Role of Birds in the Subsistence Practices of the Dorset Peoples of Nunavik

Hervé Monchot, Andrea Thompson, Benjamin Patenaude and Claire Houmard

Abstract

The Dorset sites of Tayara (KbFk-7) and KcFs-2 have yielded a rich assemblage of common eider duck (Somateria mollissima) and thick-billed murre (Uria lomvia). This study examines the role of birds and treatment of avian remains in the subsistence practices of Paleoeskimo groups along the southern coast of the Hudson Strait through the analysis of element representation, patterns of breakage, and bone-surface modifications. Our results demonstrate that although birds played a secondary role when compared with marine and terrestrial mammals, their economic importance cannot be understated.

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