So many of the Gulf Island of the BC Coast are essentially unknown to archaeologists. This goes for the larger ones as well as the small: I’d count Lasqueti, Hornby, Texada, Saturna, and Prevost Islands among those, while even major islands like Mayne Island and Quadra Island are often known only from one site, dug long ago.
This doesn’t mean there hasn’t been any work, or that there aren’t interesting and revealing collections of archaeological material already in existence. So it is great to see that Dana Lepofsky of SFU has put together a small web site on the archaeology of Lasqueti Island. She deftly combines some ethnographic and traditional practice information with a series of photographs of private collections of artifacts. Among these are projectile points apparently assignable to the Charles Phase, which dates around 5400 to 3600 years ago. Also note the beautiful ground stone adze or chisel in this picture: the luminous green nephrite (B.C. “jade”) would have been imported from the Central Fraser River, probably no closer than the Hope area. This flaked and ground sandstone club is an unusual find, probably used in hunting or fishing, but perhaps also in warfare.
If you click the photographs, then a window will open; if you click the “image details” link on the pop-up window then you will be taken to more information about that photo, if available. There are also two PDFs linked, one to the role of herring in traditional subsistence, and another on mapping a fishtrap. These stem from Lepofsky’s ongoing work (and excellent website) in Tla’amin territory on the Sunshine Coast (previously), where she will be running an archaeological fieldschool again this summer. While this only scratches the surface of Lasqueti Archaeology, it does point to the usefulness of looking at what citizens have picked up over the years as a guide to some of the time depth and activities of an area.
Sadly, of course, some of the artifacts picked up may have resulted from, or even caused, unnecessary disturbances to the archaeological record. Lepofsky provides a helpful “call before you dig” article as well – specific to Lasqueti yet applicable elsewhere. In typical Dana fashion, as a Lasquetian herself, the number to call is her own!