Wild Archaeology: The Innu of Sheshatshui

This week on Wild Archaeology, the team headed to the very remote interior of Labrador to visit Northwest River and Sheshatshui to explore the traditional land of the Innu people. This geographic location is unique in that the water has been receding and what are now hills were once shoreline beaches.

The team worked with Scott Neilson, an archaeologist who has spent many years excavating in the area, conducting what is called a pedestrian survey of an area proximal to a previously researched site estimated to be approximately 3,200 years old. The pedestrian survey is a vital first step for an archaeological dig, as it allows the researcher an opportunity to understand the land and distinguish its features. Once the natural features are known, the atypical aspects reveal themselves which oftentimes reveal the artifacts left behind.

Sheshatshui is undergoing construction of new homes for the descendants of those who lived 2,900-3,400 years ago. Prior to each build, Scott and his team excavate the lot for artifacts. Much of the debris found in this area (discarded stone flakes created by tool making and sharpening techniques) are very small and some of the stone is not local to the area, indicating people travelled elsewhere in order to find stone suitable for tool making.

Part 2 of this dig will be seen next week.

Wild Archaeology airs Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m. ET on APTN.