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Abstract

Although archaeological techniques continue to improve, the lack of preservation of most organic artifacts leaves a gap in the archaeological record. Ideologies, motives and beliefs are obscured. As a result, interpretations of past events and cultural practices may be incomplete. The diaries and reports written by early post-contact European explorers and missionaries should be consulted, but used with caution. Louis Gottschalk's Understanding History is a guide to assessing the credibility and reliability of ethnohistoric sources. In this paper, the writings of explorer Samuel de Champlain and Recollet missionary Gabriel Sagard are evaluated, based upon Gottschalk's criteria, for their potential to relate accurate information about the dietary practices of post-contact Huron groups in southern Ontario. In addition, techniques from skeletal biology and more recent ethnographic analogy are suggested as further avenues for corroborating the archaeological and ethnohistoric information about Huron food and methods of food preparation.

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