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Anderson's Cove



Long before the arrival of the Dorset Pre-Inuit people, Newfoundland was home to a people known to us as the Maritime Archaic. The first people to live in Newfoundland, the Maritime Archaic people arriving on the island about 5000 years ago and seem to have disappearing around 3200 years ago. In the summer of 1993, Dr. Paul Bonasteel, a resident of New Harbour, was walking in Anderson’s Cove, located about a mile (1.6 km) northeast of Dildo Island between the communities of New Harbour and Dildo, when he discovered a large Maritime Archaic stone axe eroding from the bank above the beach.

In the fall of 1995, the BTHC undertook an archaeological survey of Anderson’s Cove and in 1996 some preliminary excavations were conducted. Fragments of stone tools and flakes were found scattered over a large area but no camp site was discovered. It may be that there is an Archaic camp site at Anderson’s Cove and it has yet to be discovered. On the other hand, it is possible that the camp has been washed into the sea over the more than 3000 years since the site was abandoned. While none of the artifacts found at Anderson’s Cove allow us to say when the site was first occupied, a Maritime Archaic spear point found in Collier Bay, roughly 6 miles (9.6 km) to the west of Anderson’s Cove, dates to about 4500 years ago and it seems likely that Anderson’s Cove was occupied around the same time.

Images (from left to right, top to bottom) 1. Digging our first test pits at Anderson’s Cove, October 23, 1995. Hopeall Head (John Guy’s ‘Mount Eagle Bay’) can be seen to the left in the distance. 2. Maritime Archaic stone axe found at Anderson’s Cove. 3. Water rolled Maritime Archaic stone adze found on the beach in Anderson’s Cove. 4. Maritime Archaic artifacts from Anderson’s Cove. Left to right: slate knife fragment, biface base, spear tip. 5. Digging in Anderson’s Cove, October 1996. Dildo Island can be seen in the distance.