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
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
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
UVIC students visiting "Aquattro Site" near Esquimalt Lagoon, 2008.
The next scheduled public talk of the Archaeological Society of BC, Victoria Chapter, will be held next Tuesday evening at 7.30 at the Pacific Forestry Centre, 506 West Burnside Road (map). The talk is free and open to any member of the public.
The talk is entitled Preliminary Investigation Results from DcRu-1151: A Locarno-Age Living and Processing Site at Esquimalt Lagoon, and will be given by local archaeologists Kristi Bowie and Kira Kristensen.
I had the pleasure of visiting this site while it was being excavated a few years ago. All signs were that the site included the remains of a house dating to between 2500 and 3500 years ago, the “Locarno Beach” period, though at that time the feature was not directly dated. Very little is known of domestic structures from this time and so the finds could be quite exciting. I’m looking forward to hearing more about this site, though it is doubtful I will be able to attend this talk due to the ongoing circumstances which also keep this blog running slowly. I am pasting in the abstract and speaker biographies below, or else click here for the PDF.
Posted in Archaeology, Cultural Resource Management, fieldwork, Northwest Coast, Vancouver Island
Tagged ASBC, CRM, Cultural Resource Management, Esquimalt, household archaeology, Salish, Songhees, Straits Salish
These darn, hidden sites that no one expects: archaeology at the Willows Beach Site, ca. 1990. (Not the MacKay Property) Source: Millennia Research 1990.
I apologize to readers from afar who may not be interested in the apparently parochial matter of a local woman’s encounter with archaeology on the Oak Bay waterfront, and the incomplete journalism which accompanied it.
But with the news Saturday (PDF*) that the Willows Beach landowner, Wendi MacKay, intends to appeal the earlier decision of Justice Fitzpatrick to the B.C. Court of Appeal, it becomes possible this case (previously 1, 2) will have repercussions for the practice of archaeology across the entire province. I hadn’t really thought about the implications of an appeal since, well, Fitzpatrick (section 33-38)] essentially says, “I would find the case in your favour if I could, but you gave up your rights to appeal, so I can’t.”
I might be calling wolf in my fears aired below.
But, bear with me.
Landowner Wendi MacKay in front of her house at DcRt-10. Source: Oak Bay News.
There is a new local newspaper article out on the Willows beach issue, below, which contains some important information and I think warrants new post. The article (PDF) from the Oak Bay News, confirms what was proposed in my previous post.
Namely, the archaeological work at the site did not cost anywhere near the $600,000 which was widely reported.
Archaeological site DcRt 10, Willows Beach, at 2072 Esplanade Avenue, in 2007. Source: Bruce Stotesbury, Timescolonist.com
Sorry for the lack of recent updates everyone, and also for jumping in with a “feel-bad” story, but since the Willows Beach site (DcRt-10) takes up a decent chunk of the most expensive waterfront near me, I was interested to read the coverage of a recent court judgment with an archaeological focus. The Times-Colonist‘s coverage is notable for an egregious misrepresentation in their opening sentence:
“An Oak Bay woman who built a house on an unregistered aboriginal midden has had her bid to recoup $600,000 from the provincial Archeology Branch struck down.”
This is true only for meanings of “unregistered” which include “a site recorded since approximately 1965, and subsequently the object of dozens of archaeological studies, including at least two on that very lot”. Sheesh.
Posted in Archaeology, Cultural Resource Management, Northwest Coast, Vancouver Island
Tagged BC Archaeology Branch, CRM, Cultural Resource Management, Oak Bay, Public Archaeology, Songhees, Victoria BC, Willows Beach
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)
Burial cairn on Race Rocks. Source: RaceRocks.com
While I was away over the summer the local free paper, the Victoria News, did a (to my mind) high quality series on reburial and respect in Songhees and Esquimalt communities (cache). The three articles by Lisa Weighton include comments from numerous aboriginal spiritual and political leaders, and sensitively describes how Straits Salish faith asserts that the dead are always with the living. The dead do not conveniently depart to some other place, but continue in a world alongside and intersecting the world of the living.
Hence ancestral remains are not something belonging to a past which can be “gotten over” but are very much part of the present world. Laying a person to rest, or back to rest after disturbance, requires food, clothing and prayer. I don’t pretend to understand the concept well, but I have been to some such ceremonies and the power of the moment is impossible to deny. In my limited experience the article fairly represents the spiritual and emotional needs that must be met under the sad circumstance of disturbing the dead. It is incumbent on archaeologists and all citizens to not only work to minimize disturbance of the dead but to respect traditional practices. It has been impressed on me that such practices are meant to protect us, the living, First Nations or not, as well as to give comfort and respect to the dead. This should now be considered absolutely part of mainstream archaeology.
Posted in anthropology, Archaeology, Cultural Resource Management, First Nations, Vancouver Island
Tagged Archaeology, british columbia, Cultural Resource Management, Esquimalt, First Nations, reburial, repatriation, Songhees, Victoria BC
3400 year old shoe from a Norwegian ice patch. Source: Reuters.
It’s interesting to see some ice patch archaeology emerging in Norway now. Reuters has a good story and short video about some cool finds from 1800 metres above sea level in the Jotunheimen Mountains, which lie northeast of Bergen. The most spectacular find is the 3,400 year old leather shoe, shown above.