Inuit Sled Dogs in the Contact Landscape: An Isotopic Investigation of Dog Provisioning in 16th–19th Century Labrador, Canada
The 16th through 19th centuries witnessed increasing cross-cultural interactions between the Inuit of the Labrador coast and European explorers, traders, and missionaries. The effects of colonialism in this period have been studied with respect to Inuit identity, material culture, gender, and social organization, but the nature of Inuit-animal relationships has received comparatively less attention. In addition to occupying a prominent social role, the sled dog facilitated Inuit mobility and hunting practices, but required considerable care and provisioning. In this paper, we employ carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis of bulk bone collagen and amino acids to examine sled dog feeding practices between the 16th and 19th centuries. We analyze the remains of 60 archaeological dogs from six Inuit winter house sites from Labrador’s north and central coasts. While all of the dogs included in this study consumed predominantly marine-based protein, we note a degree of inter- and intrasite variation in both the carbon and nitrogen isotope values of the dogs. This variation is further explored with reference to the settlement history of Labrador, and to other stable isotope datasets from the Eastern Arctic to better understand the changing role of the dog in Inuit society.
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Inuit Sled Dogs in the Contact Landscape: An Isotopic Investigation of Dog Provisioning in 16th–19th Century Labrador, Canada. Alison Harris, Deirdre Elliott, Tatiana Feuerborn, Gunilla Eriksson, Vaughan Grimes. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 442693)
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min long: -169.453; min lat: 50.513 ; max long: -49.043; max lat: 72.712 ;
Abstract Id(s): 21982