Unusual serrated stone tool from Gitwangak area site, perhaps used for cedar processing. Source: CBC
There’s a nice audio interview and slide show from the CBC with Jenny Lewis of Kleanza Consulting archaeologists about a dig going on along the Skeena River near Gitwangak (Kitwanga) in Gitxan Territory. The project is apparently a CN Rail siding repair and there have been many, many stone tools found, including some in stratified setting with carbon dates associated.
Remarkably, Lewis asserts that they have material dating to around 9,000 years ago, in addition to the more recent finds. This would certainly make it amongst the oldest, if not the oldest, archaeological material known from the Skeena River area, although it is not specified how the earliest date estimates were arrived at. The well-known sites in the Kitselas Canyon, for example, are generally all within the last 5,000 years if memory serves me right. Continue reading
Posted in Archaeology, Cultural Resource Management, Northwest Interior
Tagged Archaeology, CBC, CN Rail, CRM, Cultural Resource Management, Gitwangak, Gitxsan, Kitwanga, Kleanza, Skeena River
View of reconstructed Cathlapotle Chinookan Plankhouse relatively close to Portland. Click for source.
The 2013 Northwest Anthropology conference is coming up soon at the end of March, but it’s not too late to submit a symposium proposal (deadline January 28th) or contribute a paper (deadline February 8th).
NWAC is always an excellent conference which draws on Anthropology broadly but with a hefty dose of archaeology, sometimes mostly archaeology. I’ve noticed in the past it also draws a lot of participation from Tribal and First Nations groups, from consulting and government archaeologists, interested laypeople, as well as academics of all levels from undergrads to retirees. In that sense it is far more multi-vocal than the “really big conferences” tend to be. It also has a tradition of very reasonable fees and hotel rates and this year is no exception. Add on Portland’s status as microbrewery capital of (probably) the entire world and what’s not to like?
The conference is hosted by the excellent Department of Anthropology at Portland State University, with lead organization apparently by occasional blog commenter (and Professor Emeritus) Ken Ames.
The Canadian Archaeological Association conference is also coming up locally in May (at Whistler), so more on that in due course, but just for now, the call for sessions is open until January 31st.
Posted in anthropology, Archaeology, Cultural Resource Management, Northwest Interior, Northwest Coast, Oregon
Tagged anthropology, Archaeology, CAA, Canadian Archaeological Association, CRM, Northwest Anthropological Conference, NWAC, pdx, Portland State University
Archaeological Science on Haida Gwaii.
So I’ve never posted job ads here before and I may never do so again, but there are two ones posted right now with a lot of potential for readers of this blog: one is an archaeological position with the Council of the Haida Nation (PDF), the other a tenure track position in archaeological sciences at Washington State University.
Posted in Archaeology, Cultural Resource Management, First Nations, Haida Gwaii, Northwest Interior, Northwest Coast, Teaching, Uncategorized, Washington State
Tagged Archaeology, CHN, Council of the Haida Nation, CRM, Cultural Resource Management, Haida Gwaii, jobs, Washington State University, WSU
Screenshot of BC Archaeology Forum Website.
It came up in comments a week or so ago on this blog, but the annual wondering where the archaeology forum is over — it’ll be in Cranbrook October 26-28, with the main day of presentations and a dinner/drumming/dancing on Saturday the 27th. Indeed, the evening festivities are scheduled to go until 1.00 a.m., so it should be a good party. The Sunday field trip will be to a quarry site. The Ktunaxa First Nation will be hosting, for which they deserve all our thanks.
Screenshot from the online document about Kwäday Dän Ts’ìnchi, showing his iron-bladed "man's tool", and a small copper bead found with the body. Source: Royal BC Museum.
Many readers of this ever-more occasional blog will be aware of the exciting and profound discovery in 1999 of the well-preserved remains of a young man frozen in a glacier in Northwestern British Columbia. Found within the traditional territory of the Champagne-Aishihik First Nation, the man was given the name Kwäday Dän Ts’ìnchi, or “Long Ago Person Found.” In the spirit of discovering what messages from the past that Kwäday Dän Ts’ìnchi might bearing, a remarkable collaborative research project was commenced. Results of this study have been presented at numerous conferences and in the scientific literature, but a landmark event hopefully just around the corner is the publication of a book recounting all the cultural and scientific knowledge borne into the present by this unfortunate young man.
While we wait for the book, it is very exciting to see that the Royal BC Museum has made a non-technical, well-illustrated overview document online which tells the main threads of the story of Kwäday Dän Ts’ìnchi.
Posted in anthropology, Archaeology, Cultural Resource Management, First Nations, Northwest Interior
Tagged Archaeology, RBCM, Royal BC Museum, anthropology, ice patches, glaciers, Kwäday Dän Ts’ìnchi, KDT, Champagne-Aishihik First Nation, Tatsenshini-Alsek
Detail of Archaeology Forum announcement. Click for PDF
I recently received the notice that the B.C. Archaeology Forum is to be held this November 11 and 12 in Squamish. The event will be hosted by the Sḵwxwú7mesh (Squamish) Nation, and is being organized largely by Rudy Reimer/Yumks. Anyone can register for this event for a highly reasonable $10.00: full information is given in this PDF file. The Forum is a great event, bringing together Consultants, First Nations, Academics and Government Archaeologists in one place to share the latest discoveries and to talk policy and matters relating to the practice of archaeology. The deadline for presenting is October 28th, but you can decide to simply attend closer to the last minute, I believe.
That said I won’t be making it this year because of an unbreakable commitment. This highlights an unfortunate part of “Forum Culture” – it is routinely announced only a month or so in advance, even when the location is known much further ahead. Many people have to arrange to take time off, or gain advance permission or funding to travel, organize a ferry load of students, or at least keep their schedule clear for this event. I think I’ve missed three of the last four for this reason. It’d be great if we could change this, and at least get the location and date out earlier – maybe by the beginning of summer. Speaking of, next year it would be cool to have it on the Island. Who’s up for it?
With hockey sidelined for a few days, there’s no excuse for Vancouverites not to take in an interesting-looking talk on rock art of the Stein River Valley tonight, sponsored by the Archaeological Society of British Columbia, “Vancouver Chapter”.
The talk, entitled “Rock Art Science in the Stein River Valley, British Columbia”, will be given by Chris Arnett, a UBC graduate student and experienced rock art researcher. It is open to the public and free of charge, starting at 7.00 p.m. at the Museum of Vancouver, 1100 Chestnut Street in Kitsilano (map). The link at the ASBC website is borked, so the abstract is here for posterity:
Rock art is found on every continent and is part of the cultural heritage of many peoples but there are few places in the world where direct historical and cultural continuity exists between those who made the art and the contemporary people. In places where this continuity does exist knowledge regarding rock art is controlled and not always accessible to non-indigenous people. When access is made available and information shared there can be prejudice towards indigenous ways of knowledge in favour of fashionable (historically contingent) theories of researchers. Early 21 century research shifts from a hermeneutic rock art research to a rock art science that combines forensic archaeology with Indigenous theory. My presentation will trace the dynamics of rock art research over a 125 year period in a place renowned for its rock art, the Stein River Valley of British Columbia, and suggest that the combined interests of researchers and indigenous people has potential to produce mutually constructed histories.
3-D Sonar Scan of A.J. Goddard historic sternwheeler from Yukon. Source: Montreal Gazette.
A year or two ago, the well-preserved wreck of the Klondike-era paddlewheeler A.J. Goddard was found in Lake Lebarge on the Yukon River. The find (which is now protected) got a lot of attention because of the ghostly images (click on the very high resolution pop-up ones here) as much as the historical significance. The wreck was recently in the news again because divers had found some vinyl phonograph records which had the potential to be played. Listening to the music of the dead crewmen of a ship evocative of the Cremation of Sam McGee would create close, perhaps emotional, connection with these poor unfortunates.
Being made of stern stuff (heh) what I am more interested in is the intriguing sonar image (above) that accompanied the mainstream press coverage. The phonograph is cool, but archaeologically the more significant development are the new technologies being used on wrecks in general and some Yukon wrecks in particular.
I found more images and a very short article at Wired magazine and they are worth a look, as is much of the background info from the Institute of Nautical Archaeology (INA), which includes a photo gallery. Edit: you can view a nice video of BluView and OceanGate’s sonar model of the wreck here.
Posted in Archaeology, history, Northwest Interior, underwater archaeology
Tagged historical archaeology, LiDAR, paddlewheelers, shipwrecks, Sonar, underwater archaeology, Yukon, Yukon River
I’m a big supporter of the B.C. Archaeology forum and posted about it a while back. The forum is an annual gathering of archaeologists, students, First Nations and others with an interest in B.C. Archaeology. It’s a rare chance for all the different stakeholders to get together, catch up, and socialize. This year the forum is co-hosted by UBC and the Musqueam First Nation, and will be held near SW Marine Drive (i.e., not on the UBC campus: map). Since I am getting tons of hits from google queries looking for information about it, and since this can also serve as a reminder to get out to the forum this Saturday, November 6th, I am pasting in the program of events below.
Remember, everyone is welcome. The registration fee is only 20$, and half that for students. You can walk up to register on Saturday morning. It would be most welcome to see lots of public and community members there.
The program (PDF) (I refuse to call it an agenda) is pasted in below with some comments.
Magnetometry map of the Bridge River Site housepits. Source: Prentiss et al. 2009
Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to see what was underground without having to go through the time-consuming, expensive and destructive process of digging it up? There are some nice geophysics techniques in archaeology for doing just that, though none are yet a substitute for excavation. I noticed the other day (and you were quizzed on it) that there is a very comprehensive recent report online (45 meg PDF) by Anna Marie Prentiss and colleagues, on work at the middle Fraser pithouse village of Bridge River (EeRl-4). This village lies in the territory of Bridge River Band (Xwisten) and the St’át’imc Nation. While there is a huge amount of archaeological interest across the 350 page report as a whole, it was the use of geophysics on an interior pithouse village which got my attention.
Posted in Archaeology, Cultural Resource Management, Northwest Interior, Technology
Tagged Fraser River, geophysics, household archaeology, housepits, magnetometry, pithouses, Salish, St'at'imc First Nations