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Bad year economics at Birchy Lake

Faculty Advisor




cultural adaptation, climate change

Abstract (summary)

Anthropologists have long been interested in understanding how societies cope with risk and uncertainty in their subsistence economies. The topic has been of particular interest to the study of hunters and gatherers, where risk and uncertainty are often conceptualized as problems of the natural rather than social environment. This paper focuses on an archaeological site located in the interior of the island of Newfoundland that was inhabited by Amerindian people hunting caribou in the spring of the year, presumably because they were having difficulty procuring marine resources at the coast. The plight of these Amerindians, at a time when they were sharing the island with Paleo-Inuit peoples and climate change was undermining islanders’ access to critical marine resources, highlights the complex play between cultural adaptation, social and historical processes, and the natural environment.

Publication Information

Holly, D. H. Jr., Prince, P., and Erwin, J.C. (2018). Bad year economics at Birchy Lake. Journal of Anthropological Research, 74, (2): 201-231.


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