Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Prehistoric Archaeology, Maritime Peninsula, Relational Ontology, Domestic Architecture

Major Advisor

Kevin McBride

Associate Advisor

Matthew Betts

Associate Advisor

Francoise Dussart

Field of Study



Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Campus Access


Archaeologists have long recognized that hunter-gatherer architecture contains important information about the social lives of the people who make it. Yet beyond this reflective capacity, architecture and the organization of architectural space are important historical practices by which people constitute themselves and their worlds. This dissertation makes both theoretical and methodological contributions to the study of hunter-gatherer architecture in a series of essays about aboriginal architecture from the Maritime Peninsula, the homeland of the Wabanaki people. In the first essay I consider the earliest substantial report of domestic architecture from the Maritime Peninsula. I argue that considering it in terms of an internationally informed natural history paradigm elucidates how Wabanaki dwelling features and their inhabitants came to be understood by archaeologists. This process is, itself, a kind of history making. In the second essay I report the first prehistoric sweathouse feature identified on the Maritime Peninsula. Despite a dearth of sweathouses archaeologically, they are near ubiquitous in the ethnohistoric literature for the region, and figured prominently in male ritual and therapeutic practices. I present an approach for identifying and interpreting ritual architecture. In the next essay, I consider the gendered patterning of Maritime Woodland period architecture and space at Port Joli Harbour, Nova Scotia as a way in which ancient Wabanaki may have negotiated and expressed their cosmologies and worldview as part of a relational ontology. In the final essay, I argue that dwelling features offer a singular scale at which to consider cultural continuity for the Maritime Woodland period in the Quoddy Region of the Maritime Peninsula.

Available for download on Friday, June 19, 2020