Reinterpreting the First Human Occupations of Ivujivik (Nunavik, Canada)

Murielle Nagy


This article presents a reassessment of the Paleoeskimo presence in Ivujivik (northwest tip of Nunavik, Canada). It discusses 36 new radiocarbon dates obtained to determine whether the Pita (KcFr-5) and Ohituk (KcFr-3A) sites belong to the so-called “Pre-Dorset to Dorset transition,” as concluded from previous research, or represent occupations during periods corresponding to either culture. The new dates and those obtained earlier confirm that the sites were occupied around 800–400 cal BC (i.e., the presumed transition). However, other dates demonstrate that the Pita site was mainly visited during the Pre-Dorset period and contains the oldest date (2460–2290 cal BC, 1σ) obtained so far for Nunavik. As for the Ohituk site, it was mostly occupied during the Dorset period. Because dates from the sites spread over three millennia, it is concluded that the archaeological remains come from a palimpsest of occupations and do not represent a transition period.

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