Paleoeskimo archaeology has a peculiar history in that it is best known by its more distinctive regional and chronological variants. Thus, we have had rather full reports from such edge-areas as Greenland (Knuth 1952; Larsen and Meldgaard 1958), Southampton Island (Collins 1956a, 1956b, 1957), and Newfoundland (Wintemberg 1939, 1940; Harp 1964). More recent fieldwork at Igloolik (Meldgaard 1960b, 1962), and full publication from northwestern Quebec (Taylor 1968a) and Lake Harbor (Maxwell 1973) have begun to close the information gap for the geographic core area of the Central Arctic. However, the continuing research by Taylor, McGhee, and Müller-Beck in the peripheral regions of Coronation Gulf, Banks, and Victoria Islands, by Nash and Harp in southern Hudson Bay, by McGhee on Devon Island, and by Tuck, Plumet, Fitzhugh and Linnemae in Labrador-Ungava and Newfoundland has made it even more necessary to tie these regions to developments in the demographically more stable central regions. A large number of questions, such as relationships with a fluctuating environment, population shifts, and regional interrelationships, hinge on more complete information for the Dorset core area.
One area that until recently remained completely unknown was the Labrador coast (Taylor 1964a). This 800-mile stretch of coastline carries a strip of tundra environment south from Hudson Strait to Newfoundland, and its rich marine resources, including a large seasonal harp seal population, provided a suitable habitat for early Eskimo culture, as well as the only feasible migration route from the northern regions into Subarctic Newfoundland.