"They are one with the Tides of the Sea": Diets of Settlers and Sailors in Newfoundland during the 17th to 19th centuries
From the mid 17th to early 19th centuries the lucrative cod fishery drew sailors and settlers from the British Isles and continental Europe to the shores of Newfoundland. Poor agricultural prospects and a dependence on imports challenged permanent settlement; as a result, the life- and foodways of these early ‘Newfoundlanders’ differed from those that developed at other North American colonial settlements. Through palaeodietary analysis, we investigate the different subsistence-based adaptive strategies devised by these settlers to both cope with Newfoundland’s harsh environment and to maintain important sociocultural ties with their homelands. We examine the δ13C and δ15N values of bone and dentine collagen of individuals (n=46) recovered from seven historic sites and cemeteries in Newfoundland to explore how limited terrestrial resources and imported food supplies affected the diets of settlers. We further compare these results to stable isotope values from British Royal Navy sailors buried on Newfoundland whose diets were not subject to the same restrictions as those settled in Newfoundland. The findings of this study emphasize the ability of the early settlers to overcome the limits of the terrestrial environment and the critical role of the sea for sustaining life and community.
Cite this Record
"They are one with the Tides of the Sea": Diets of Settlers and Sailors in Newfoundland during the 17th to 19th centuries. Jessica Munkittrick, Alison Harris, Kelly-Anne Pike, Vaughan Grimes. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404657)
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min long: -142.471; min lat: 42.033 ; max long: -47.725; max lat: 74.402 ;