Daily Archives: September 18, 2010

Bella Coola Lichen

A gravestone with lichen growth. Source: designscience.com

I was reading the charming Bella Coola Blog the other day and came across an interesting post discussing how lichen had been used to date glacial features in the area.  So-called lichenometry is a well-established dating technique which relies on the principle that lichen grows in roughly circular patterns, and that there is a linear relationship between the diameter of the circle and the age of the lichen patch.  Now, such patches can be many hundreds of years old.  So for an event where rock is newly exposed and then lichen grows on it, the lichen will give a minimum date on when the bare rock was first available as a lichen environment.  Anytime you have a bare rock and a dating technique for when the rock became bare, the archaeology antennae rise.

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Two upcoming events in Vancouver and Victoria


1936 Field Trip by the Vancouver Natural History Society to Musqueam. Source: Vancouver Public Library. VPL Accession Number: 19483

In Vancouver this Sunday, September 19 at 1.00 there is a guided walk of the Ancient Salmon Stream and Musqueam Village, starting at Jericho Beach (details here) with Victor Guerin, “a cultural/linguistic consultant and historian, a member of the Musqueam First Nation and a speaker of the Musqueam dialect of the Central Coast Salish language Halkomelem. He has been learning about his people’s culture and history his entire life, including some 16 years of consultation and documentation with family elders and 4 years formal training in the Musqueam language with linguistic analysts at UBC.”

This talk/walk is one in a series from the False Creek Watershed Society, most of which look like they hold promise for an interesting conversation between historical ecology, traditional knowledge, and landscape development.  It would be good to see connections built or strengthened between restoration groups and archaeologists, who share many of the same values.  You can see the other talks and walks they sponsor here – two of them are actually today, Saturday September 18th.  OK, go to those as well!

The other upcoming event is the  Archaeology Society of B.C. monthly public lecture in Victoria, which is on Tuesday 21 September.  This month’s speaker is Grant Keddie from the Royal B.C. Museum.

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