For over 5,000 years the Great Northern Peninsula on the island of Newfoundland has been providing rich resources from the land and sea for diverse groups of people. In Bird Cove, we have unearthed woodworking and hunting tools once used by the Maritime Archaic Indians 4700-3500years ago; gouges, notched and stemmed projectile points, lances and bayonets, bifaces, whetstones, axes, adzes and blades.
Prehistoric occupants of the Bird Cove area came to utilize many natural resources, such as seals, caribou, fish, whales, birds, walrus, and plants. Similarly, Early European cultures, such as the Basque, English, French, and Irish came to the Great Northern Peninsula initially for the fish and whales. Many of these early European peoples would eventually come to settle in this area and learn to call it home. A few historic excavations have been carried out, such as at Meany’s Point, to shed light on lucrative historic finds. As one hikes along the trails and shorelines of the close by Dog Peninsula, it is not unusual to find early European artifacts. There is much work to be done!
Just as prehistoric peoples and our European ancestors depended on the rich local resources of the land and sea, so too, have the people of Bird Cove and surrounding communities. In an ironic twist, because the present day fishing industry is failing the local inhabitants, it is the discovery and promotion of the extinct cultures that is providing a resource on which the community will build its future. The efforts of the Society are community driven, and with the assistance of partners and the concerted cooperation of many local and regional development groups.