Katzie Artifact Gallery

Ground stone celts (adze and chisel blades). Source: Katzie.ca

Hmmm: the pictures are low resolution, there isn’t much annotation, many are of replicas, and the page design HTML is wonky, causing a lot of sideways scrolling.  Yet I really like the Katzie First Nation’s artifact gallery.  And no, its not only because they give ground stone its rightful pride of place.  Though, in the image above, feast your eyes on the uppermost left specimen – an unusual yet definitive example of a broad celt being bisected to form two narrow ones.  In essence, an adze is being turned into two chisels.  Chew on that, Spaulding and Ford. Also check out the specimens in the centre-right, where the sharpened bits differ in colour from the bodies.  These are either patinated specimens subsequently reground and recycled, or speak to a process of heat treating or oiling or similar to enhance the raw material.  You could read all about this in my M.A. thesis if it were online, which it isn’t.  Or wasn’t until five minutes ago.  But I digress.

What I like is the text associated with these images.

Sure, the language is a little florid, but the emotion is sincere and I for one welcome and encourage this expression of aboriginal connection to the nuts and bolts of the archaeological record:

By studying the various epochs of a culture, one is able to fashion some form of explanation that speaks to how individual and collective existences come to manifest across time. With this holistic continuum in mind our generation gives praise to our ancestors; we praise them for their will and ingenuity to establish and maintain a sustainable way of life, of which we are but an extension.

In addition to this praise, we also acknowledge that our generation is beholden to future generations to shape out of our current circumstances the necessary requirements to live and prosper, and to do so with dignity and respect within our own lands, just as our ancestors had done. Therefore, we shall faithfully endeavour to keep alive our story – a story that speaks of the Creator gracing us with this land from which our forebearers so gloriously emerged, flourished, and shared with others.

So it is in this spirit that we offer up this virtual artefact gallery for all to consider and enjoy. It is but a small, yet significant glimpse into our story, as told through our ancestors’ efficient tools, beautiful weaves, and ceremonial objects.

And while many of the artifacts are credited to the Maple Ridge Museum, that museum, in common with almost every community museum I’ve seen, puts almost none of its First Nations holdings on display and certainly not on the web.  This is too bad, because it reinforces the history:prehistory false dichotomy, and also sends the message that the history of Maple Ridge is predominantly  a settler history.  Don’t make me break out the Pac-Man Spits Out a Ghost Chart again!

More mundanely, check out the nice flaked stone below.  That corner notched knife on the extreme left seems quite unusual to me – are those common in the Fraser Valley?

Bifacial points. Source: Katzie.ca

4 responses to “Katzie Artifact Gallery

  1. Not to be disagreeable but I notice that the caption for the photo showing the hand maul and collection of artifacts suggests that the upper left item is an abrader…presumably for sharpening ground stone. It is hard to tell what the material is in the photo but it does look like a wedge as you suggest. Hey, maybe it’s both!


    • oh hi mberkey, not disagreeable at all. I do think it is a celt though, with a partial groove intended to bisect it, but you are right, it says abrader. This’d be an easy error to make – many abraders do have grooves (not usually so well defined) from working bone points and so forth. I’d have to see it to be sure!

      On the plus side I was glad to see the caption for this one includes my pet notion that such perforated stones were used as weaving weights vs. fishing weights — the high risk of loss of the latter seems to outweigh all the labour in making the perforation, but that may just be my own inner principle of least effort speaking.


      • Looks like nephrite celt to me too, one of those cool asymmetrical ones presumably specialized for hewing the starboard bow of a canoe or the left side of a mask, or however specialized woodworkers use these things. Anyway, I saw this website confuse a chopping implement for a pounding implement once 😉 so they are in good company!

        Sorry, how were those weaving weights supposed to function? The Salish loom had two semi-fixed bars for the (continuously looping) warp, held apart by the framework with no function for a weight, while the spinning involved a spindle and whorl; was the weight involved there somewhere?


  2. Stop slaying my hypotheses Morley, or I’ll be breaking out those DiRi-14 sauna pictures.


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