Document Type



Pauleena MacDougall

Bethany Haverlock

Publication Date

Winter 12-1-2004

Issue Number


Volume Number


Abstract/ Summary

Four thousand years ago, Archaic period peoples hunted swordfish in the Gulf of Maine. In addition to fauna remains, archaeologists have recovered stone representations of the distinctive sword-shaped bill, suggesting that these animals had a cultural significance that went beyond their dietary value. What archaeologists don't know is precisely where and how the fish were taken. In our own time, swordfish rarely come inshore. Commercial operators, both harpooners and long-liners, fish the eastern side of Brown's and George's Banks and points farther along the continental shelf. Even if hunters of the Archaic period could travel that distance, it would have been too far to make swordfishing worthwhile. Moreover, archaeological evidence shows that Natives in the region stopped hunting swordfish about 3,800 years ago.


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