M.A. Theses: Donald Thomas Hanna, 1990

Architectural Variability in Palaeoeskimo Tent Rings From Jones Sound, NWT

This thesis documents and examines the scope of architectural variability in a sample of Paleoeskimo tent rings from the Jones Sound region of the eastern Canadian High Arctic.

A total of forty-four excavated and unexcavated tent rings were examined and analyzed using the predominantly metric methods of quantitative shape analysis. Tent rings were recorded using a simple radial mapping technique. A standardized system of centre-point determination and radial partitioning permitted subsequent analysis of perimeter rock distributions using multivariate statistical procedures. These analyses demonstrate that significant variability exists in the distribution of stones about the perimeter of these features. Principal components analysis indicates the existence of high level of internal structure in the relative distribution of stones about the tent ring perimeter. Cluster analysis indicates that clear groupings exist in the volume and distribution of these perimeter rocks. These patterns are explained in terms of past environmental and cultural-historical phenomena. In particular, these clusters are used to infer seasonal affiliations and to assess the possibility of contemporaneity between individual features.

Existing constructs regarding the temporal and/or cultural distribution of specific tent ring forms or attributes are critically assessed. It is suggested that current interpretations regarding the temporal-cultural diagnosticity of specific architectural elements within Paleoeskimo features are only partially supported by a rigid examination of the Jones Sound data.

Although preliminary in nature, this study demonstrates that meaningful insights into past conditions may be gained through the detailed metric analysis of simple architectural remains.