July 25, 2009

Spindles in Early Canadian History

In Canada, spindle whorls were only found in British Columbia, prior to European contact.
Karen Albright Murchison, "What's a Whatzit?" Canadian Museum of Civilization, http://www.civilisations.ca/cmc/education/teacher-resources/oracles/archaeology/kmurchison/whats-a-whatzit
Other objects include a bronze-ringed cloak pin...a soapstone spindle whorl, and a stone lamp. The discovery of the spindle whorl, used by women to spin wool, is evidence that families came to the site [L'Anse aux Meadows]. In other words, this was a genuine attempt at settlement, not just an outpost for explorers.
"The Norse," Canadian Museum of Civilization, http://www.civilization.ca/cmc/exhibitions/hist/canp1/ca01eng.shtml

There's a photo of a steatite whorl from L'Anse aux Meadows on the same website here. I think the shape is beautiful.

If you don't know your Canadian geography and history, L'Anse aux Meadows is in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador on Canada's east coast; British Columbia is on our west coast.

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