History and Archaeology of the Northern Fur Trade

TitleHistory and Archaeology of the Northern Fur Trade
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1978
AuthorsRay, AJ
JournalAmerican Antiquity
ISBN Number0002-7316

The economic behavior and specialization of Indian groups involved in the fur trade of western Canada before 1763 are examined, and a spatial model of the fur trade is developed. The implications of Indian economic behavior and the spatial structure of the fur trade for current archaeological research in the sub-Arctic and northern Plains areas are then considered. It is posited that the nature of the early fur trade would lead archaeologists to underestimate the importance of the protohistoric period as a time of rapid culture change, and indeed, make it difficult to identify this period archaeologically.