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Lifelines: Canada's East Coast Fisheries

Cross Currents
500 Generations of Aboriginal Fishing 
in Atlantic Canada
Fishing Between Tides
Cross Currents: 
500 Generations of Aboriginal Fishing in Atlantic Canada


Trash Heaps of History

Shell middens at Native encampments tell a complex story. Samples of bone, stone, shell and ceramic give us the age of these sites and the seasons in which they were used, as well as providing clues to the inhabitants' diet, technology, and daily activities.

Species found in the shell middens of Passamaquoddy Bay include clams, oysters, sea urchins, horse mussels, scallops, common mussels, whelks, limpets, periwinkles, saxicaves and barnacles. The high alkali content from calcium in the shells creates a unique environment which helps preserve organic materials such as discarded tools and the bones of land and sea animals.

The multiple layers of soil and shell in the middens of Passamaquoddy Bay suggest that the area has been used continuously for at least the past 2,500 years.



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