"Construction and Reconstruction of a Mi'kmaq sixteenth-century cedar-bark bag" by Joleen Gordon

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In 1955, a small woven basket/bag was found among the grave goods in a sixteenth~century burial near the present town of Pictou, on the Northumberland Shore of Nova Scotia. The site is believed to be Mi'kmaq, dating from about 1570-1590 (Whitehead, in press). The material used to make the bag is cedar, which is intriguing, for the tree is not common in Nova Scotia today. The bag is the sole surviving example of a twined cedar-bark container not only from this site, but also from the whole Atlantic region.

This report examines one artifact from the Pictou site., the small twine-woven cedar-bark bag, Nova Scotia Museum 84.22.553 (Figure 1). One of the most exciting pieces in the collection, it has survived the intervening 400 years remarkably well. Small, hemispherical in shape, measuring approximately 750mm deep and 150mm in circumference, the bag is almost complete, save for being split open on one side. Its original use is unknown.

30 page book
Nova Scotia Deparment of Education