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Topographic Analysis of the Dorset Occupation at Phillip’s Garden, Northwestern Newfoundland: Implications for Dwelling Numbers, Forms, and Site Settlement


Friday, December 14, 2018

"Topographic Analysis of the Dorset Occupation at Phillip’s Garden, Northwestern Newfoundland: Implications for Dwelling Numbers, Forms, and Site Settlement" (2018). C. Robinson, P. Wells. Arctic Archaeology, 55(1): 48-62. 

A recent publication by PhD candidate Christina Robinson and co-author Dr. Patty Wells (Arctic Institute of North America) highlights Robinson's Master's research carried out at the National Historic site of Port Au Choix, Newfoundland. The site is a significant one with evidence of Dorset culture and dwellings dating to over 2000 B.P. preserved in the area of rising sea levels. Robinson's research discovered evidence of even more settlement practices and building than had previously been indicated. 

Abstract: A topographic survey of the Dorset site Phillip’s Garden identified 183 surface features that potentially expand present understandings of social life at the settlement. Its long history of archaeological excavations focused on depressions observable on the ground surface. Excavation confirmed them as large dwellings, which became the basis for describing a unique settlement pattern at the site. This survey detected more subtle depressions and other features, which while remaining untested, could reveal new settlement practices. The number of possible dwellings at the site could more than double earlier estimates, and many of those appear to be lightly constructed compared to excavated houses. The distribution of features shows variation in density and possibly, that feature construction may have involved incorporating other houses and the natural beach terraces. Issues of seasonality, household organization, and cultural and profiles are some of the implications that could be explored as a result of this survey.

Congratulations Christina!