Heritage Burnaby

Ground stone wants to be flaked stone.

Ground stone wants to be flaked stone.

Billing itself as “personal history – collective memory”, the Burnaby Archives is a professionally presented and slick website.  As usual, the parochial frame extends only to non-aboriginal settlement.  Curious about whether the land on which Burnaby sits was occupied in more ancient times?  Well, they do link to 42 objects associated with aboriginal people.  Wondering if there might still be aboriginal people there today?  I couldn’t find anything.  I sure wish small town archives, and not so small ones as well, would wake up to the millennia of history under their feet.  Time did not start in 1892, Burnaby, much as some might like to think it did.  Or maybe it is just the prominent epigraph this site cites:  History is made with documents. Documents are the imprints left of the thoughts and the deeds of the men of former times. For nothing can take the place of documents. No documents, no history*.

No archaeology means a big honking hole in history, we might add, a hole shaped like colonial guilt.

Elongate contracting stem point from Burnaby.

Elongate contracting stem point from Burnaby.

Having said that, two unusual artifacts are illustrated on their site.  Above left is a very distinctive ground stone point with a zig-zag motif.  I don’t recall seeing another one like it.  It almost appears to be a ground stone point designed to resemble a flaked stone point, something of a skeuomorph.   To the right is an elongate, contracting stem  flaked point or “dagger” that  appears to be about 14cm in length.  In size and appearance it is not the most common artifact in the world.

PS: Heritage Burnaby — your web site is nice and all, but breaking direct links to pictures is pretty lame.  Has there been that much bandwidth from hot-linked pictures?  Or are you so possessive about these artifacts you hold in trust for the Stó:lô, Musqueam, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations?  Higher resolution would be nice as well — surely you have more than 72 dpi, 30 kb versions already taken?

* Incongruously cited as, “Charles Seignobos, Histoire de la civilisation contemporaine (1920). Translated by Eamon de Valera in a letter from prison to his personal secretary enjoining her to safeguard his papers.”

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