Fur Trade Amongst Penobscot, Passamaquoddy, Maliseet, Mi’kmaq Aboriginals

[...] At the Turner Farm [on North Haven Island in Penobscot Bay], between 1000 and 2000 years ago, out of a sample of about 4000 identifiable mammal bones, 650 are M. [Mustela] macrodon [sea mink]. These little animals were the dominant small carnivore of the marine coast, and were probably heavily trapped for fur by the Indians even before European contact, as shown by butchery marks on several sea mink skulls indicating careful pelt removal. Bruce Bourque, Steven Cox, and I have even gone so far as to postulate the existence of a pre-European fur trade among various northeast coastal Indian groups, in part based on trade in the most-distinctive and available local pelts and hides.[...]

Source: Arthur Spiess, "Faunal Remains — They may hold enough information to be called — Archaeological Guidebooks," The Northern Raven VII (1987): 14-23.

Return to parent page