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Archeological site on Ingonish Island dates back thousands of years

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Konaha
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« on: December 19, 2010, 06:39:48 pm »


Archeological site on Ingonish Island dates back thousands of years


    Rannie Gillis
    Published on December 16th, 2010
 

Over a period of two summer seasons (1975 & 1976) an archeologist from St. FX University in Antigonish excavated a prehistoric archeological site on Ingonish Island that dates back at least 7,000 years.

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    Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History , Cape Breton Post , Ingonish Island , Maritime Provinces , New Brunswick

As writer and historian Ken Donovan points out in the recent book “The Nashwaak Review,” Ronald Nash found two separate quarries on the island. The larger one was located on the relatively flat northwest side, facing the village of Ingonish, and provided 40 boxes of artifacts. The smaller site was under cliffs on the very steep northeast side, facing the ocean, and provided a smaller amount of material. All of these artifacts are now stored at the Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History in Halifax.

All of the evidence found indicates that both sites were quarries, and not the location of early villages. We know this because Nash found no animal bones, empty shells, or pottery fragments at either site, meaning that food was not cooked or eaten on location. Although these early Indians worked the quarry in the summer months, their main village was probably located on the mainland, more than likely close by in the Ingonish area. And what exactly did Nash find in these quarries?

Fascinating photos in Ken Donovan’s chapter give a strikingly visual account of some of the items found during excavation. These include: arrowheads, knives, spear points, primitive axes, sharp-edged circular and rectangular stones that were probably used for scraping animal hides, and an approximately six-inch long stone item that may have been a large knife, or possibly a harpoon blade.

According to Nash most of the items were made from a type of volcanic rock called rhyolite, which is as hard as steel. This makes it a perfect source for producing sharp-edged implements used in hunting, fishing, or even tribal warfare. The rhyolite from Ingonish Island is also slightly magnetic, which is quite unique, because volcanic rocks usually do not have magnetic properties.

Thirty-five years ago, when these sites were first examined, there were very few other quarries of a similar nature to be found anywhere in the Maritime Provinces. Since then, however, prehistoric quarry sites have also been found in New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and mainland Nova Scotia. What is really interesting is that examples of stone tools from Ingonish Island have been discovered in several of these new sites. How do we know that the stone tools came from Ingonish Island?

The answer is that the Ingonish artifacts are slightly magnetic, and will be attracted to a simple magnet, while the other locally produced tools are not magnetic. What this also means is that 7,000 years ago there was physical contact between various Indian groups in the three Maritime Provinces. They were obviously visiting and trading with one another, only 3,000 years after the end of the last ice age.

More information on this topic can be found by reading Nash’s fascinating article “Discovery on Ingonish Island, 1975,” published in 1976 by Ron Caplan. It can be found online by typing “Cape Breton’s Magazine” into your computer’s search engine, and going to issue #14 (1976), pp. 13-14.

Rannie Gillis is an author and avid Celtic historian whose column appears every week in the Cape Breton Post. He can by reached by email at  ranniegillis@ns.sympatico.ca.
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Konaha
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« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2010, 06:40:28 pm »

http://www.capebretonpost.com/Opinion/Columns/1969-12-31/article-2049686/Archeological-site-on-Ingonish-Island-dates-back-thousands-of-years/1
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20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
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« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2015, 12:30:18 am »

Still no exact date for this fort, like many another relic found before it. I believe that archaeologists are just guessing at the time frames in order to fit them in their preconfigured timelines.
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