Construction & Reconstruction of a Mi'kmaq sixteenth century cedar-bark bag (Curatorial Report #76)


  • Joleen Gordon


Mi'kmaq Indians, Antiquities, Micmac Indians, Indians of North America


In 1955, a small woven basket/bag was found among the grave goods in a sixteenth century burial near the present town of Pictou, on the Northumberland Shore of Nova Scotia. The site is believed to be Mi'kmaq, dating from about 1570-1590. The material used to make the bag is cedar, which is intriguing, for the tree is not common in Nova Scotia today. The bag is the sole surviving example of a twined cedar-bark container not only from this site, but also from the whole Atlantic region.

The Pictou find is one of five archaeological sites in the Maritime Provinces from which fragments of woven plant textiles have been recovered: the Portland Point, Red Bank and Augustine Mound sites in New Brunswick, and the Pictou and Northport sites in Nova Scotia.

The material from Pictou is by far the most important, for it contains the largest number of woven plant-fibre fragments attributed to the Mi'kmaq people.


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