Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Dorset Palaeoeskimo Nephrite

This is a little burin-like tool made from nephrite that was found at a Dorset Palaeoeskimo site on Baffin Island.  The site's elevation along with other diagnostic tools suggest an Early Dorset occupation.

This tabular nephrite tool, with one broken end, may be another burin-like tool that was broken through the notches and discarded.  If so, it has a much larger body than little one in the first photo.  It was found at a different Baffin Island site that contained many Early and also Middle Dorset tools.
Photo Credits: Tim Rast


  1. funnily enough we get burin like tools but not true burins here on Kodiak. They are not very common and usually date to around 3500 BP - but we do find them. They always remind me of the east arctic! Patrfick

    1. What are the burin-like tools made from where you are? That's interesting about the dates. I'm not sure when the first BLTs start showing up in the east, but 3500BP is the middle of PreDorset and they were definitely true burin fans. Off the top of my head, I'd say most BLTs in the east date to this side of 2800 BP, and increase in popularity after that. But now that I think about it - the farther south and east you go (down Labrador and into Newfoundland) the later and later BLTs show up. Maybe there is a very gradual west to east adoption of the tool. I'm sure someone's thought about it more than me.

  2. Here on Kodiak we have BLTs as early as 4000 BP and they are made on metatuff mostly, but really a wide assortment of materials. We do not have ASTt on Kodiak but there are ASTt sites just across the way on the peninsula. Not sure of the relation, but I have heard grumblings that the ASTt (and Dorset) homeland might be in Southwest Alaska circa 5000 BP. I sort of buy an Asian connection or maybe a combination - mixing so to speak. But this is all WAY out of my baliwick. Patrick


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