Monday, December 2, 2013

How Tall Were The Maritime Archaic Indians?

Maritime Archaic Indian artifact reproductions used in
 the sand box dig at The Rooms.
I got stumped by a question during a flintknapping demonstration today.  I was talking about archaeology and the Maritime Archaic artifact reproductions used in public programming at The Rooms with volunteers and Front of House staff.  One of the volunteers asked an excellent question that has a good Newfoundland and Labrador Archaeology answer, but I didn't know the correct answer off the top of my head, so I looked it up as soon as I got home:

Q: How tall were the Maritime Archaic Indians?

A: The average Maritime Archaic man was 5' 6" tall, and men ranged in height from 5' 3" to 5' 8 1/2" (mean = 167.2 cm, range = 159.4 cm to 174.0 cm).  Women averaged 5' 3" and ranged from 4' 11" to 5' 5" (mean = 160.6 cm, range = 150.7 cm to 165.5 cm). 

Maritime Archaic skeleton drawing from Tuck 1976.
This man was buried with the beaks from 200 great auks.
In life, he would have stood about 5' 7".
Or at least those are the figures based on the adult skeletons from the 100 Maritime Archaic burials at Port au Choix (4400 to 3300 BP) that were complete enough for the detailed skeletal measurements recorded by J.E. Anderson in the mid-1970s.  Its rare to know so much about the physical appearance of a population from so long ago, but the Maritime Archaic Indians in Newfoundland and Labrador are often the exception to the rule when it comes to Archaeology.


Anderson, J.E.
1976 Appendix A: The Human Skeleton. in Ancient People of Port au Choix by James A. Tuck. Newfoundland Social and Economic Studies No. 17, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Memorial Univesrit of Newfoundland, St. John's. pp. 124-131

Photo Credits:
1: Tim Rast
2: from Tuck 1976, reference above.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails