The prehistoric occupations of Black Lake, northern Saskatchewan
Minni, Sheila Joan
The results from the archaeological investigations at Black Lake in northern Saskatchewan describe and explain the utilization of the region in prehistoric and early historic times. The 1972 through 1974 survey and excavation programs indicate that the Black Lake area has been occupied by a number of distinct cultural traditions. Typological analysis suggests that this array of traditions and complexes ranged discontinuously in time from approximately 6000 B.C. up to and including the time of historic contact. Cultural affiliations of many of these occupants outline the marginal nature of northern Saskatchewan to a number of physiographic zones. Since post-glacial times the Black Lake area has been occupied by Paleo-Indians, Pre-Dorset peoples, Chipewyan Indians, northern Plains Indians and Woodland Cree Indians. An extensive amount of historical and ethnographical evidence details the almost total dependence of the historic Chipewyan upon the migratory herds of barren-ground caribou. This information is used to formulate an economic model which outlines this dependence, and tentatively explains the rationale behind the Chipewyan occupation of northern Saskatchewan. This model broadens the understanding of the Chipewyan life-style in the early historic time period and, through application of the direct historical approach, is considered to have limited prehistoric validity. The majority of cultural materials from Black Lake are associated with the later Chipewyan occupations which have been tentatively dated from A.D. 1300 to the time of contact. This abundance permits a more detailed analysis which is divided into 2 sections. These sections are concerned with artifact and attribute analysis and with the recognition and interpretation of patterned human behavior from differential artifact clusterings.