Taltheilei Tradition

As the climate improved and the boreal forest began to move north again people moved with it. The Taltheilei Tradition was made up of forest people who moved into the lands previously inhabited by arctic groups. Their subsistence economy was based on barren-ground caribou.

Dates: 2600 to 200 yr BP
Lithics: There are a variety of stemmed and lanceolate projectile point types in this classification, as well as side-notched and corner-notched points in the later part of the period. Another characteristic tool type is the chithos, a large hide-working tool.
Technology: Some projectile points are large and would have been at the end of large spears while others are smaller and were probably on the ends of atlatl darts. After 1200 yr BP, most of the side-notched and corner-notched points are small and were used on arrows. Some of the late points were made of copper and bone; unfortunately bone does not preserve well in the archaeological record in northern Saskatchewan because of acidic soils.
Cultural Affiliation: From 1200 yr BP onward, the Taltheilei materials were left behind by direct ancestors of the Dene, who continue to live in the region today. Since the cultural affiliation is not disputed, many archaeologists now refer to this late Taltheilei period as simply Dene.
Distribution: The tundra of northern Saskatchewan and southwest into the upper Churchill River basin.
Sites: There are numerous excavated sites and surface finds found in northern Saskatchewan.
Environment: The Sub-Atlantic Period (2890 to 1690 yr. BP) begins just before the start of the Taltheilei tradition. The environment was cooler and moister with stormier winters. Conditions were very much like the end of the last ice age. The climate slowly became warmer towards the end of the Sub-Atlantic. This eventually leads into the Scandic Period or last climatic optimum. During the Scandic Period conditions are generally warmer and drier, encouraging movement into northern Saskatchewan. Glacial ice stops advancing in the mountains.