20170709 – Day 11

Today was a travel day mostly.  We got up very early and, since there was nowhere nearby to get breakfast, ended up driving back into St. Anthony to stop at Tim Horton’s.  Then we drove pretty non-stop to the historic site at Port aux Choix.

Port aux Choix has been inhabited in several periods over the past 4500 years.  The earliest inhabitants (“Maritime Archaic Indians”) used it as a burial ground, and it is the best preserved burial site that has been discovered to date.  Artifacts from the graves have been one of the main sources of knowledge about these people.  It was later inhabited by “Paleoeskimo” and Dorset people, and later still by proto-Beothuk people.

It’s interesting to hear about these distinct periods of settlement and how these groups came to be abandon the site (and eventually become extinct) as a result of natural changes.  Periods of cooling and warming altered the environment and the wildlife that was able to be hunted.  It’s easy to think of indigenous people as having lived in unchanging ways for thousands of years until disruption by European contact, but the reality is that it was a slow but constant churn of different groups with different technology.

After getting lunch in Port aux Choix, we drove until we got to Deer Lake where we’re spending the night.  Our plan tomorrow is to head back slightly into Gros Morne to check out the Tablelands, and then more driving so we can reach Gander.