Macrobotanical and zooarchaeological examination of the macgillivray site (DbJm-3): a woodland period habitation in Northwestern Ontario
Master of Environmental Studies
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The Macgillivray site (DbJm-3) is located on an island in Whitefish Lake, approximately 50 km southwest of Thunder Bay, Ontario in the central Canadian Boreal Forest ecozone. Indigenous people have lived in this area for a long time with the earliest sites occupied during the First Ancestor period, but occupation intensified during the Woodland period. Kenneth Dawson first excavated at this site in 1966, and Lakehead University has more recently investigated other parts of the site in 2016 and 2017. Although Dawson highlighted the Laurel composite cultural affiliation, recent analysis has also identified Brainerd ware, Blackduck complex, Psinomani culture/Sandy Lake ware, and Selkirk composite affiliations. This thesis examines the macrobotanical and zooarchaeological evidence from the Macgillivray site to assist with reconstructing the diets of its precontact Indigenous Woodland period occupants. There is a lack of direct evidence for the consumption of wild resources on sites in Northwestern Ontario. Due to this, organic resources consumed and exploited by the Woodland period people have been inferred through other means such as modern environmental data, archaeological settlement patterns, ethnographic analogies, tool kits and other circumstantial evidence. More recently, carbonized food residue has provided evidence for the consumption of cultivated plant remains and wild rice. This suggested that the diets of the Woodland period people in Northwestern Ontario are more complex than previously assumed. Further information gathered from fauna and macrobotanical remains during this study aided in contextualizing the cultivated plant component of the diet inferred from microfossils.