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The Minister's Island Site: Stratigraphic Analysis and the Separation of Cultural Components

Publication Type:

Conference Paper


Fredericton (1989)


The Minister's Island Site (BgDslO), a large, multi-component, shell midden located near the town of St. Andrew's, Passamaquoddy Bay, New Brunswick was excavated on four occasions over a period of 24 years. Although marginal evidence for a late Archaic occupation exists, the site was occupied primarily by Aceramic and Ceramic period peoples, from ca. 2,300 to 600 B.P. Stratigraphy at the site is complex and somewhat disturbed as a result of human activity and natural factors. This paper opens with a discussion of the methodology employed in the identification and separation of cultural components at the site, including an examination of artifactual, feature and stratigraphic data. Excavation methodology is discussed in terms of the efficacy of utilizing arbitrary versus natural levels for purposes of interpreting cultural information contained within a shell midden site. In conclusion, although some spatial separation of cultural components has been possible, excavation methodologies have served to obscure the site's components and have limited the degree of confidence which can be placed on any interpretation of the cultural remains contained within the site.