Culture and history

Port au Choix National Historic Site

Natural wonders and cultural treasures

For over 5500 years, this small peninsula on Newfoundland's Great Northern Peninsula has been the crossroads of various native North American and European cultures. The area's rich marine resources, and to a lesser extent the forests, wild game and abundant berries, have drawn these people to the shores of Port au Choix. The people who occupied this site connect the area southwards to Maine, northwards to Greenland, as far west as the Canadian Arctic, and of course eastward to Europe.

The remains of these many cultures have been preserved at Port au Choix, thanks to the limestone bedrock of the area. The soils are alkaline rather than acidic and many artifacts have survived, including those of bone and ivory.

Over the past century various archaeologists have excavated many sites in the Port au Choix area. Through their work, we now have a better understanding of the many people who called this site home.

The People of Port au Choix
Culture Dates of Occupation from Island of Newfoundland Dates of Occupation from Port au Choix
Maritime Archaic Indians 5500-3200 B.P. 5500-3200 B.P.
Groswater Paleoeskimo* 2800-1900 B.P. 2800-1900 B.P.
Dorset Paleoeskimo* 2000-1100 B.P. 1900-1300 B.P.
Recent Indians :
1. Cow Head Complex
2. Beaches Complex
3. Little Passage Complex
2000-800 B.P. 2000-800 B.P.
2000-1400 B.P.
1400-1100 B.P.
1100-800 B.P.
Europeans :
1. Viking
2. Basque
3. French
4. English
ca. 1000 A.D.
ca. 1500-1700 A.D.
ca. 1600-1904 A.D.
ca. 1700 - A.D.

ca. 1600-1700 A.D.
ca. 1709-1904 A.D.
ca. 1700 - A.D.

* The name "Paleoeskimo" refers to groups of native peoples who inhabited the Eastern Arctic from approximately from 900 to 4000 years ago. The term Paleoeskimos is used to distinguish these groups from the modern Inuit, who are not their direct descendants. Remains of palaeoeskimo settlement have been found from Greenland and Ellesmere Island in the high arctic, to the shores of Hudson Bay and Labrador, and as far south as the island of Newfoundland.

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