DNA re­veals the past

Toronto Sun - - NEWS -

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — About 5,000 years ago, af­ter mas­sive ice sheets from the Last Glacial Max­i­mum re­treated, the Mar­itime Ar­chaic peo­ples carved a liv­ing from the sea and wood­lands on New­found­land’s west coast.

At Port au Choix, north of to­day’s Gros Morne Na­tional Park, arche­ol­o­gists in 1968 re­cov­ered hun­dreds of ar­ti­facts — carved pen­dants re­sem­bling birds, shell beads and amethyst crys­tals.

This south­ern branch of the Mar­itime Ar­chaic van­ished from the arche­o­log­i­cal record some 3,000 years ago. It was widely spec­u­lated they were re­lated to the later Beothuks who thrived in New­found­land for hun­dreds of years be­fore Euro­peans ar­rived. The last known Beothuk died of tu­ber­cu­lo­sis in 1829.

New ge­netic re­search pub­lished Thurs­day sug­gests the Mar­itime Ar­chaic were in fact dis­tinct from the Beothuk.

“This in turn im­plies that the is­land of New­found­land was pop­u­lated mul­ti­ple times by dis­tinct groups,” says molec­u­lar an­thro­pol­o­gist Ana Dug­gan,.

BEOTHUK Paint­ing

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