Deirdre Elliott Abstract
The hunt for whales: Labrador Inuit whaling in the archaeological record
My PhD research seeks to answer the question of what Labrador Inuit whaling looks like in the archaeological record, and why it has received so little archaeological attention to date. My research explores Labrador Inuit whaling and whale product use across its history and throughout Labrador. Through a critical re-examination of the material record, supplemented by available written records, this project will look at how whale products were distributed and re-distributed through coastal trade networks, within and between Inuit communities, and in trade with Europeans. I will examine how the products were used and consumed through space and time – particularly in light of the bowhead population depletion and eventual extirpation from the Labrador coast in the 19th century, and the uncertainty of a successful hunt that communities faced throughout this period. The aim of the research is to better understand the roles whales played in Labrador Inuit society and participation in the global economy.