Pre-contact fish weirs: A case study from southwestern Nova Scotia

Lewis, R.J. (2006). Pre-contact fish weirs: A case study from southwesetern Nova Scotia (Unpublished master's Thesis). Memorial University, St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada.

69 pp.


MUN/CNS - Thesis-Request by author's name and title

Fish weirs have a wide distribution in Nova Scotia, and are present on most primary watersheds found in southwestern Nova Scotia. However, little systematic archaeological research has been undertaken to delineate these structures as to architecture, function and likely geographic location in an ancient landscape setting. Fish weir technology has been employed by humans since at least the Mesolithic period and has persisted in its basic form into the present. Variability in architecture is evident and it appears that at least four types of weir structures were utilized by pre-contact populations to harvest multiple fish species in southwestern Nova Scotia. This research demonstrates that a detailed archaeological inspection of fish weirs is warranted for purposes of providing a broader understanding of their use in Nova Scotia. Petersen and others (1994:198) noted that while other facilities can be found at residential sites, fish weir structures are tied to a location, defined as a place where extractive tasks such as food or raw material gathering are undertaken. Fishing has always been a important integral part of the economy of pre-contact aboriginal populations in the Maritimes. As a result, this research allows for a more detailed inspection of a pre-contact fishing technology and provides an opportunity to increase our understanding of subsistence, settlement, mobility and land and resource use patterns for this region.

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Added to Archives 2013
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