Daily Archives: October 9, 2009

Keatley Creak

An unusually strong review of Brian Hayden‘s Keatley Creek excavations on the middle Fraser River, near Lillooet can be found at this site:

” […]Hayden was able to show that the aristocratic owners lived on one side of the house, where the larger hearths, the larger storage pits, and the better tools and ornaments were all found, and their servants or poor relations on the other side.  The bones from the good side of the house were mostly ribs and vertebrae from the best parts of the fish, while the tail bones came mostly from the poor side.  The deer bones were also mostly from the rich side.  So we can imagine the rich folks keeping warm with big fires and eating the best parts of the fish, while their inferiors watched them from the other side of the same room, huddling by tiny fires and gnawing on fish tails.  To this visual image we must add the smell.  Air-drying salmon protects it from harmful rot, but European observers all thought the process left the fish “half tainted.”  The smell in a closed house full of the stuff “was such as nobody who has not grown up with the stench can endure it for even a few minutes.” The more I think about this strange place, the more disoriented and disgusted I become. […] ”

I look forward to more such insight into how the public perceives the fruits of archaeological labours.