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Prehistory - Saguenay : An exceptional fjord!

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Musée du Fjord

(the IVth millennium to 1535)1

This phase gives rise to many hypotheses by our archaeologists. Érick Langevin at the archaeology research laboratory at Université du Québec in Chicoutimi believes that "the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region was definitively inhabited by two origins of populations during the IVth millennium before Christ. First, a group from the Maritimes or Lower Saint-Lawrence would have settled the mouth of the Saguenay River and gone up along the Fjord. Recent data allows us to believe there were incursions as early as in the VIth millennium before our era. At about the same time, another group originating from the southwest, notably the Lake Champlain region, would have reached the Lac-Saint-Jean region by land."

Still according to archaeologist Érick Langevin: "The initial settling of the Fjord would have been when the water level of the Saint-Lawrence River was higher by tens of metres. Terraces that are today 25 metres or higher would have allowed populations to stop at these places to take advantage of the land and water resources, perhaps before heading inland. This may also have been a somewhat regular stopping place in the seasonal cycle of a family or a group of individuals who did not intend to travel inland." These populations used the terraces as they wished according to their training and their capacity to fulfil human occupation.

During these first settlements, there were continual comings and goings in the Fjord. Excavations made in the Sainte-Marguerite River and in the Anse-à-la-Croix sectors confirmed that these places had served as base camps, seasonal hunting sites and halts. Thus, pre-Iroquois or Iroquois groups also travelled inland.

1 Source: Érik Langevin, Chicoutimi, november 2001.

© Copyright Musée du Fjord 2002.