TRADERS AND POTTERS
From: The Archaeology of North Central Ontario : Prehistoric Cultures North of Superior 1979, Ministry of Culture, Tourisma nd Sport (name of ministry 2012)
|Evidence for Prehistoric Exchange Networks in North Central Ontario.|
Ceramics first appear in the North Central region of Ontario about 500 BC. The earliest vessels were small pottery jars manufactured by the coil method. They had conical bases and distinctive impressed decoration executed with a toothed or sinuous - edged implement.
These conical-shaped vessels are the identifying characteristic of the Laurel culture. The Laurel people practised a way of life similar to that of the Archaic people in the region: fishing, hunting, and collecting wild plants on the major waterways north of Superior.
There are two major theories concerning the origin of the Laurel culture in the area. One is that Laurel arose out of an Archaic base, and a differed from it only in that pottery had been adopted. The other suggests that Laurel people moved into the area from the south and east, following the expansion of wild rice into the Upper Great Lakes area about 500 BC.
By the Initial Woodland Period, extensive exchange networks had been established which stretched from the eastern seaboard to the Rocky Mountains. The Laurel people appear to have participated actively in this network. Artifacts made from Lake Superior copper have been found on sites throughout eastern North America, while such exotic items as marine shell beads from the Atlantic coast, stone tools of Knife River chalcedony from North Dakota, and obsidian from Yellowstone Park, Wyoming, have been found on Laurel sites in the Lake Superior region. Long distance trade was facilitated by the extensive system of waterways linking Lake Superior with the east, west, north and south - the same transportation network which would be utilized by the fur traders over a thousand years later.