Ethnoarchaeological Perspectives on an Athapaskan Moose Kill


  • Robert Jarvenpa
  • Hetty Jo Brumbach



Archaeology, Chipewyan Indians, Culture (Anthropology), Ethnology, Gender differences, Hunting, Subsistence, Saskatchewan, Northern


A recent development in anthropology involves examination of living human populations in an attempt to better understand the "formation processes" that create archaeological remains. An ethnologist and an archaeologist collaborated in the observation and analysis of procurement, butchering and distribution of moose among a group of contemporary Athapaskan (Chipewyan) Indians in northwestern Saskatchewan in 1977. Subtleties in the behavior of one particular hunting party illustrate the complexity and variability of skeletal and anatomical spatial distributions accompanying various stages in processing, distributing and consuming a moose (Alces alces andersoni). Variables such as seasonality, proximity to a major settlement, transportation technology, sexual division of labor and ideational factors heavily influence the formation of archaeo-faunal remains within several components of a regional settlement system.

Key words: ethnoarchaeology, Chipewyan Indians, moose hunting, decision making, site formation