L'Anse Amour National Historic Site of Canada
L'Anse Amour Burial
Site funéraire de l'Anse Amour
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
L’Anse Amour National Historic Site of Canada overlooks the waters of the Strait of Belle Isle near the small modern community of L’Anse Amour in southern Labrador. The burial mound forms part of an ancient, multi-component archaeological site occupied by the Maritime Archaic people between 9000 and 2000 years ago. Formed by a low mound of large stones, the circular burial mound is 8-10 metres in diameter and situated behind what was the main habitation area. Within the mound is a small stone burial chamber underneath which was found the well-preserved skeleton of a child along with a number of artefacts. Official recognition refers to the 47 hectares of land in a single irregular polygon that contain the remains of many, once numerous, small, seal hunting camps.
L’Anse Amour was designated a national historic site of Canada in 1978 because:
-it is one of the largest and longest used Aboriginal habitation sites in Labrador, representing the remains of many small camps; and,
-it features the earliest known funeral monument in the New World, created between 6100 and 6600 B.C.E.
L’Anse Amour is the oldest known burial mound in the North America, and is part of one of the largest and longest used Aboriginal habitation sites in Labrador. The body had been covered with red ochre, wrapped in a shroud of skins or birch bark, and placed face down, head pointed west, in a large pit 1.5 metres deep. Evidence also indicates the use of ceremonial fires and the cooking and consumption of food. Offerings were made of tools and weapons made of stone and bone. These included a walrus tusk, a harpoon head, paint stones and a bone whistle.
Sources: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, June 1978, November 1983, June 1984, December 2005.
The key elements that contribute to the heritage character of this site include:
-the burial mound’s location on a site overlooking the waters of the Strait of Belle Isle in southern Labrador, which represents part of a series of camps occupied by the Maritime Archaic people between 9000 and 3500 years ago;
-the site’s coastal setting on a flat, open area near the small community of L’Anse Amour;
-the integrity and materials of the extensive surviving archaeological remains (discovered and as yet undiscovered) features and artifacts in their original placement and extent, including the in situ vestiges, the remains of tools and various discrete archaeological features both identified and as yet unidentified features that date to between approximately 9000 and 2000 years ago;
-the retention of the knowledge associated Maritime Archaic culture period artefacts and remains associated with the site;
-the viewscapes to sea, and from shoreline the site, and around the immediate vicinity that facilitate its recognition as an ancient habitation area for the Maritime Archaic people.
Government of Canada
Historic Sites and Monuments Act
National Historic Site of Canada
Theme - Category and Type
- Peopling the Land
- Canada's Earliest Inhabitants
- Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
- Philosophy and Spirituality
Function - Category and Type
- Religion, Ritual and Funeral
- Mortuary Site, Cemetery or Enclosure
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Heritage Conservation and Commemoration Directorate, Documentation Centre, 3rd Floor, Room 366, 30 Victoria St, Gatineau, Quebec
Cross-Reference to Collection