Towards the end of the Late Archaic there is a new cultural presence in the Maritime Peninsula. It is generally agreed that there was a movement of people, identified with the Susquehanna tradition, into the region by as early as 4000 B.P. (Bourque 1992:39-43, 1995; Deal 1986; Sanger 1975; Spiess et al. 1983:97-98; Tuck 1991). The Susquehanna people can be characterized by a distinctive tool-making tradition and the practice of cremation burial. They are generally considered to be the technological innovators responsible for the transition, via soapstone vessels, toward the use of pottery in the Northeast (Tuck 1978b:37-39). The distribution of steatite bowls in New England corresponds with the distribution of broad-bladed, stemmed projectile points and drills. These points are also known as "Broadpoints" or "Broadspears" and are related to the broad-bladed styles of the "Savannah River Complex." The named styles that are similar to variants in the Maritime Peninsula are "Snook Kill" and "Susquehanna Broad." In the south, these point styles are also associated with spearthrowers and grooved axes. The relationship between the Susquehanna tradition and other interior and coastal groups is a matter of debate, as is their relationship in time to historic native cultures in the Maritime Peninsula (Wright 1995:181). Turnbull and Allen (1988:255) indicate that the Susquehanna appear to mark the beginning of closer cultural contacts with continental areas, as opposed to the North Atlantic.
The argument for Susquehanna migration is based on criteria derived from Rouse's (1958) research on migration theories (see Sanger 1975; Bourque 1995:252-253). First, a homeland for the tradition can be identified in southern New England, with ties to archaeological cultures in the southeast. Secondly, elements of the Susquehnna tool assemblages appear over a broad area of eastern North America in a short period of time, around 3800 B. P. (Bourque 1995:253). Third, environmental conditions were favourable. Sanger (1975:61) points out that after 5000 B.P. the increase in tidal amplitude caused a decrease in the numbers of swordfish in the Gulf of Maine and a concomitant increase in the soft shell clam. Furthermore, a cooling climate was unfavourable to deer. Swordfish and deer are believed to be important species to the resident Late Archaic population, but not critical resources for Susquehanna Archaic peoples. Fourth, Sanger (1975) points out that all systems of this archaeological culture are present in Maine and adjacent New Brunswick. Both habitations and mortuary sites have been identified, as well as a toolkit comparable to those of southern New England. By contrast, the later Adena presence in the Maritime Peninsula appears to be represented only by a mortuary subsystem. Fifth, Sanger points out that no suitable alternate model has been put forward.
Dincauze (1975:27) agrees with the migration hypothesis, but suggests that it was a movement of small groups of people, with a distinctive technology, rather than a mass migration. Certainly, the Susquehanna presence is stronger in Maine than in the Maritime Provinces, with only transient population east of the St. Croix River Drainage and into southwestern Nova Scotia. However, Bourque (1995:247) sees the Susquehanna migration as a movement of large groups of people into Maine following the demise of the Moorehead phase. Bourque also feels that this migration was a short term (c. 3800-3500 B. P.) infiltration of an exploratory nature. He bases this interpretation on significant north-south differences in technology (i.e., the scarcity of steatite bowls and spearthrower weights) and what he sees as a one-way, north-south, distribution of exotic lithics (Bourque 1995:247).
Sanger (1975:69-72) suggests that the Susquehanna tradition may be the basis for later Algonkian-speaking cultures in Maine and the New Brunswick. Tuck (1984) argues that the Maritime Archaic are more likely ancestors for later aboriginal groups in the Maritime Provinces, based on the lack of Susquehanna sites in eastern portions of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Rutherford (1990), in his study of Late Archaic and Early Woodland projectile points, found a greater similarity between Moorehead Phase (Coastal) Late Archaic points and Early Woodland points. He completely rules out a connection between the Susquehanna Tradition and Early Woodland biface technology, and favours an in situ development from the resident Late Archaic population. Rutherford's conclusions are generally in agreement with those of Tuck (1991), yet he differentiates between Moorehead and Maritime Archaic populations. Later Early Woodland population movements in the area may also have a baring on the origins of the modern aboriginal populations (McEachen 1996).
The Northeastern Susquehanna Tradition is characterized by a more diversified subsistence pattern than that of the resident Archaic populations. Sites are located both on coastal and interior riverine and lacustrine locations. Tuck (1978b) suggests a deer-bear-moose hunting focus. Evidence from Turner Farm indicates that coastal groups also exploited waterfowl, sturgeon, and shellfish (Bourque 1995). Wright (1995:192) points out that early coastal fishing technology in New England is demonstrated by the Boyleston Fish Weir site in Boston. Tuck (1991:53) suggests that the richness of resources evident at Turner Farm might not be applicable to other Susquehanna sites along the Gulf of Maine/Bay of Fundy coast. While organic preservation is not as good at interior sites, anadromous fish exploitation is suggested by calcined fish bones and characteristics of site location (Borstel 1982; Deal 1985).
The Turner Farm site provides our best evidence of the Susquehanna Tradition in Maine (Bourque 1975, 1995). The Susquehanna Archaic occupation, which dates to about 3600 B.P., includes three basin-shaped "living floors" that are covered with beach gravel and littered with bone and artifact refuse. The living floors range from 3 m. to 5 m. in diameter. One of these living floors is encircled with fire-cracked rock, suggesting a tent ring, and another feature is partially encircled by post molds, suggesting a wood framed structure (Bourque 1975:39; Tuck 1991:53). There are also ten cremation burials with grave inclusions, which are often ritually "killed." The Susquehanna component includes broad-bladed projectile points, drills, chipped stone knives, scrapers, and pestles. Several other Susquehanna components have been identified at sites in Maine, including several sites in the Fox Islands, as well as the Goddard, Stanley, Eddington Bend, Hathaway, Walter B. Smith, and the Hirundo/Young sites (Bourque 1992:39-43). It is quite common to find Susquehanna cremation burials intruding on earlier Archaic red ochre burials, as at the Walter B. Smith site on Alamoosook Lake (Moorehead 1922:140).
In New Brunswick, the densest occupation of Transitional Period peoples is along the Chiputneticook-St. Croix Drainage and Passamaquoddy Bay, where their material culture has been identified at 13 sites, including Deer Island and Teacher's Cove (Davis 1978:plate Vd, h; Deal 1984a). However, the only excavation of an undisturbed Susquehanna component is at Mud Lake Stream (Deal 1986). This site is situated below a rapids on Mud Lake Stream, which drains Mud Lake into Spednic Lake. The Susquehanna component is represented by two features in the basal stratum of the site. Charcoal samples from the two features date the component to about 4000 B.P. These features produced 14 broad-bladed points and fragments similar to the Snook Kill style of New England, as well as three drill fragments, two small bifaces, and a chipped stone celt. A fully-grooved axe an ovate plummet, which were collected on the beach in front of the site are also believed to be part of the Susquehanna component. A stemmed graver recovered at the Diggity site, Spednic Lake (Deal 1984b) is stylistically similar to the Mud Lake Stream specimens and may be a reworked stemmed point (also see Ritchie 1980:151). The chipped stone tool assemblage from this site is very similar to that of the Hirundo/Young sites (Borstel 1982). Eight of the chert specimens were made from a poor grade chert and are heavily bleached. The only faunal remains recovered from the component were 31 calcined fish bones, 14 of which have been identified as American shad (Alosa sapidissima; Deal 1986:89). Certain factors indicate a ceremonial or mortuary function for feature 1, which contained seven large bifaces and the calcined fish bones. These include the presence of charcoal, a relatively high phosphorous content, predominantly heat damaged artifacts, and the presence of incomplete (killed?) artifacts, while the lack of both red ochre and human remains is not uncommon in early Susquehanna features (Borstel 1982:61; Dincauze 1975:29, 31). Dincauze (1975:31) also suggests a possible relationship between ceremonial features and spring fishing sites.
Susquehanna tradition artifacts are relatively rare east of the St. Croix River Drainage, but diagnostic broad-blades projectiles have been identified along the Saint John River Drainage, in surface-collected materials from Woodstock, Grand Lake, and Portland Point. The Portland Point component consists of seven artifacts that were recovered by Harper (1956) from disturbed contexts. These include three soapstone bowl fragments, three transitional Archaic projectile points, and a drill (Jeandron 1996:12-13). The projectile points include a complete "Snook Kill" specimen and basal fragments representing two other Late Archaic styles. While few soapstone bowl fragments have turned up in excavations or collections, two complete bowls are known from Maquapit and French Lakes, in the Lakes Region. These vessels are similar to the two-lugged varieties reported for New England (Fowler 1966; figure 1), where they most likely originated.
A single Susquehanna tradition cremation burial has also been identified at Ruisseau-des-Caps, in the Gaspé area (Dumais 1978). The burial is situated on a terrace, about 20 m. above the St. Lawrence River. It consists of an elliptical-shaped pit, about 25 cm. deep, and 1.2 m. long, with its long axis oriented to the north. The burial contained small calcined bone fragments, and has been dated to 3720 +/- 90 B.P. The grave inclusions include two broad-bladed projectile points, a drill and drill tip, biface fragments, a possible pestle, and an abrading stone. Red ochre was absent.
Deal and Rutherford (1991) identify eight sites in Nova Scotia, based on 28 diagnostic broad-bladed projectile points and drills in private and museum collections. The largest single collection consists of eight projectile points and a small, shallow grooved gouge from Tusket Falls, near Yarmouth. Other sites cluster in the Lake Rossignol-Mersey River Drainage and the Gaspereau Lake-Gaspereau River Drainage systems. The lone excavated Susquehanna tradition component in Nova Scotia comes from Gaspereau Lake (Erskine 1998; Murphy 1998). Group 4 projectile points from the Erskine site includes six broad-bladed specimens, similar to the Snook Kill style. Single specimens are also known from the Indian Gardens, Eel Weir VI, and Bear River sites in southwestern Nova Scotia (Christianson 1986:9; Connolly 1977; Ferguson 1986). Site locations suggest a preference for river outlets on large lakes, although rising sea levels may have inundated any coastal Susquehanna sites.
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