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.
Parks Canada Archaeologist near Huxley Island
So, it’s been a while without a post here so apologies to compulsive page-refreshers and lonely groupies. I see lots of interesting comments – I’ll try to get caught up soon. For now, here is the announcement about the Victoria ASBC meeting coming up this Tuesday. It’s great to see that there is going to be some dialogue between the ASBC and the UASBC – two solitudes far too much of the time.
Underwater Archaeological Society of BC
Exploring the Underwater Heritage of British Columbia
TUESDAY April 17, 2012, 7:30 pm
Pacific Forestry Centre,
506 West Burnside Road. (map)
Free and Open to the Public
View of Woss Lake. Source: panoramio user cyberhun.
ARCHAEOLOGICAL SOCIETY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA,
Archaeology of the Nimpkish River Valley, Northeastern Vancouver Island
Coast Interior Archaeology
TUESDAY FEB. 21, 2012, 7:30 pm
Pacific Forestry Centre,
506 West Burnside Road. (map)
Free and Open to the Public
UNBC student Cory Hackett excavates a unit in shell midden (photo credit: B. Alway, via UNBC)
There’s a good, recent article in the Globe and Mail (PDF) on some exciting preliminary findings by Dr Farid Rahemtulla of UNBC at a site on Calvert Island (map).
The site, thought to be the “lost village” of Luxvbalis, is in territory of the Heiltsuk and Wuikinuxv (formerly Oweekeenow/Awikenox) peoples. The project was intended to re-locate this village, which figures prominently in Oral History. Continue reading
Posted in Archaeology, fieldwork, First Nations, Northwest Coast, Shell Middens
Tagged Archaeology, british columbia, Calvert Island, First Nations, Hakai Pass, Heiltsuk, Namu, UNBC
Unidentified Musqueam Chief as portrayed by Cardero in 1792. Source: Vancouver Sun.
The City of Vancouver had its 125th anniversary yesterday, and the local press was full of reflective pieces on civic leaders, famous visitors, notable crimes and, of course, sports. Well, it would be churlish not to wish Vancouver Happy Birthday! Well done, Vancouverites. But in all the coverage of this momentous event, I only see one single article which acknowledges that people might have lived at the mouth of the Fraser River for a tad longer than 125 years. And a curious article (PDF) it is: Ancient history of Vancouver’s first peoples: The city’s history predates its 1886 founding, with a native midden dating back 9,000 years
Sooke Freight! Vancouver Daily Post, 1865.
Via the Northwest History blog, I recently found that Google has been quietly archiving a large number of historical newspapers, including many defunct ones from the west. Old newspapers are a rich source of social history and can fill in some details of everyday life in the early historical period. For example, it still costs me about 2 & 1/2 cents per pound to get my sorry self from Victoria to Leech River. Or, see the table below from 1864 recounting the travel time and cost by stage or foot from New Westminster to the Columbia River. That’s better history than some dumb vote of useless politicians.
As Larry Cebula at Northwest History points out, Google has buried this feature somewhat. There is a master list of all newspapers here, though, and you can work your way through that. Many of the newspaper names are cryptic, though, and since I usually do the grunt work for you, here are some of the historic, often defunct, newspapers of particular interest to readers of this blog:
"Progressive Victoria" about to run over the Songhees. Was there ever a Songhees man with feathers in his hair, fringed buckskin, and a peace pipe? Source: Vincent's Victoria.
I mentioned it in a comment the other day so you may have seen it already, but there are a couple of great posts at the blog “Vincent’s Victoria“. The first post is the already-mentioned review of John Lutz’s talk “Getting the Indians Out of Town: Race and Space in Victoria’s History” – Victoria, British Columbia, that is, better known as World Headquarters to this blog. In Vincent’s post we find out about the slow process by which First Nations had their presence in the city core steadily reduced, mainly by moving the reserves, but through other means too. The post then discusses the “Signs of Lekwungen” project which I posted on before. it’s really a shame I didn’t hear about John’s talk until after he had given it – there are other talks in the series but his would have been the most interesting to regular readers here.
The second post is extremely interesting, as it uses editorial cartoons from the Victoria Daily Times newspaper to tell the story of the movement of the Songhees reserve in 1910.
Posted in archives, First Nations, history, Northwest Coast, Vancouver Island
Tagged archives, british columbia, Esquimalt, First Nations, Northwest Coast, Songhees, Victoria BC, Victoria Daily Times
Closeup of the skull and teeth of Vancouver Island's Puntledge River elasmosaur. Source: BCfossils.ca
Only occasionally does this space turn its eye to fossils, but there’s been quite a bit of press this last week about the perceived lack of protection of fossil sites in British Columbia, some of which are alleged to be ground up for “kitty litter” (archive, etc). In that CBC report the Minister of Agriculture and Lands lists a whole variety of ways that fossil sites are, indeed, protected, in response to the general position of the paleontologists that there was no such legal protection. I believe this page summarizes the government’s position (which does indeed explicitly allow commercial exploitation in principle, though they are not currently taking kitty litter applications. The page is a virtual museum of weasel words and contradictory information and frankly, makes almost no coherent sense).
Anyhow, the most direct and obvious way that such sites are, in my opinion, already protected, or the way they could be: by the Heritage Conservation Act (HCA).
Anthropomorphic and zoomorphic sculpture from Glenrose and St Mungo Cannery sites. Source: Delta heritage passport
The Glenrose Cannery site, which lies on the Fraser River near the Alex Fraser bridge, is one of the mose significant archaeological sites in BC. The human figure on the left, above, dates to the ‘St Mungo” phase, putting it at between 3500 and 5000 years old. It might be the oldest known representation of a human being in British Columbia – well, to my knowledge, it is. Yet, you can already see elements of the formline art appearing – look at the eyebrows, for example. More importantly, look at the beard. Look at the hair, pulled into a bun. This is a portrait of an individual. The artifact, which is probably a small handle for a chisel, is a masterpiece of Canadian art. The site in which it was found shows continuous occupation from the present to about 9,000 years ago and spans up to eight metres of vertical deposits.
So it is disturbing to think that Glenrose might be further affected by development, in this case, road building associated with the “Gateway Project”, a transportation infrastructure megathrust to get stuff to and from the Ports of Vancouver faster. There is a short article in The Province yesterday (archive) in which UBC Professor Emeritus RG Matson, one of the key figures in BC Archaeology, visits the site. We can’t preserve everything from the past, clearly, or all cultures at all times would have been glued to the footprints of their forebears. But a site of such demonstrated significance as Glenrose should probably be completely off limits.
I got the news yesterday that the annual B.C. Archaeology Forum has been scheduled. The event will be co-hosted by the Musqueam First Nation and the UBC Laboratory of Archaeology and held November 5-7. You can download a registration form here (MS-Word document)