Nikanisk Ingonish Island

In this video, Kyle Gloade, Gerald Gloade and Clifford Paul discuss a rhyolite toolstone found at Ingonish Island. Along with being a toolstone used for thousands of years, it also has remarkable magnetic properties.
This projectile point (left) was found on the shoreline of St. George's Bay, and is made of Ingonish Island rhyolite. The artifact on the right is a large biface (used as a spear point or knife) and also is made of Ingonish Island rhyolite. Its form suggests it is more than 3,000 years old. Artifacts like these have been found throughout Mi’kma’ki. From the collections of the Nova Scotia Museum, Archaeology Collections, Halifax, NS.

This projectile point (left) was found on the shoreline of St. George’s Bay, and is made of Ingonish Island rhyolite. The artifact on the right is a large biface (used as a spear point or knife) and also is made of Ingonish Island rhyolite. Its form suggests it is more than 3,000 years old. Artifacts like these have been found throughout Mi’kma’ki. From the collections of the Nova Scotia Museum, Archaeology Collections, Halifax, NS.

Ingonish Island is an important place, where both a quarry site and a presumed living site have been found. The quarry is the source for a rock, called Ingonish Island rhyolite, that has been used for thousands years and has been found in archaeological sites across Mi’kma’ki.

In the video shown here, Clifford Paul reports on one such artifact, an arrowhead found in the Cape Breton Highlands, which dates back some 4,500 years.

Excavations in 1975 by St. Francis Xavier archaeologist Ron Nash and his crew at the ancestral site at the Island showed a group of artifacts that were exclusively stone. While it is not a huge collection, it is significant because it spans thousands of years. The artifacts are presumed to have ranged in dates between 8,000 and 1,000 years ago based on their form. Together with evidence of Ingonish Island rhyolite artifacts from other sites, we know this has been an important place for a very, very long time.

5 Responses to Ingonish Island

  1. Jerry Wetzel says:

    Hi, I have been researching Mi’kmaq use and occupation of Newfoundland (Ta’kam’kuk) for the past 40 years. Due to a poorly prepared case, the Conne River Band lost a Mi’kmaw land claims case in 2009 ? not sure of the date of decision, but the case name was R. v. Drew. Now, the only way to revive the Mi’kmaq claim in Newfoundland is via archaeological evidence. A rhyolite point from Ingonish found in St. George’s Bay really got my attention. Can you tell me how many other rhyolite artifacts have been recovered in Newfoundland and where. I am interested in the exact location the St. George’s Bay point was found. Any information would be appreciated.

    • MDCC says:

      Hi Jerry,

      We would suggest contacting the Provincial Archaeology Office, http://www.btcrd.gov.nl.ca/department/contact_arts.html#pao

      Also, you might be interested in this article by Helen Kristmanson, “The Application of X-ray Fluorescence Analysis to Archaeological Samples: A Case Study from Newfoundland and Cape Breton Island”. Canadian Journal of Archaeology / Journal Canadien d’Archéologie 28.2 (2004): 342–352.

      We find Ingonish Island rhyolite at sites throughout Nova Scotia. Very cool!

      MDCC Staff

  2. ray donovan says:

    Everyday when I wake up I look at Ingonish island,my great grandmother is Mikmaq and I often wonder if ingonish island was connected to the mainland of ingonish at one time and of course Did my ggrandma visit the island,i believe the island is private now.

  3. Pingback: Ingonish: A puzzle | Joanne Doucette

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