The Aldergrove Glacial Erratic. source: geocaching.com
This is something a little different, leading to something cool: the NW Geology Blog has assembled quite a few self-guided geological fieldtrips, mostly in the Seattle to Vancouver corridor. There are two in the Fraser Valley: the Aldergrove glacial erratic, and the Shasta erratic in Coquitlam. The other BC field trip is to the recent, massive debris flow at Capricorn Creek.
But it was one of the Washington State trips which caught my eye though: a trip to a formation of Stilpnomelane at Blanchard Mountain, Skagit County, near Bellingham Washington. The reason this caught my eye: the formation is intersected by massive, green chert beds.
"Progressive Victoria" about to run over the Songhees. Was there ever a Songhees man with feathers in his hair, fringed buckskin, and a peace pipe? Source: Vincent's Victoria.
I mentioned it in a comment the other day so you may have seen it already, but there are a couple of great posts at the blog “Vincent’s Victoria“. The first post is the already-mentioned review of John Lutz’s talk “Getting the Indians Out of Town: Race and Space in Victoria’s History” – Victoria, British Columbia, that is, better known as World Headquarters to this blog. In Vincent’s post we find out about the slow process by which First Nations had their presence in the city core steadily reduced, mainly by moving the reserves, but through other means too. The post then discusses the “Signs of Lekwungen” project which I posted on before. it’s really a shame I didn’t hear about John’s talk until after he had given it – there are other talks in the series but his would have been the most interesting to regular readers here.
The second post is extremely interesting, as it uses editorial cartoons from the Victoria Daily Times newspaper to tell the story of the movement of the Songhees reserve in 1910.
Posted in archives, First Nations, history, Northwest Coast, Vancouver Island
Tagged archives, british columbia, Esquimalt, First Nations, Northwest Coast, Songhees, Victoria BC, Victoria Daily Times
Screenshot of PSAL Web Page.
It looks like big Northwest Coast projects on old sites are in the works at Oregon State University. I came across a new blog which is the public face of something called the Pacific Slope Archaeological Lab with the mission of “Discovery, recovery, and interpretation of First Americans archaeology in the New World’s Far West.” The blog points to a large number of projects which have been initiated or are planned under this research umbrella. How is such a wide-ranging and ambitious research project possible? A million dollar endowment making a fund under the direction of OSU Associate Professor Loren Davis isn’t hurting.
Measurement of vertebral height. Source: Huber et al. 2011
Salmon are a crucial cultural keystone species across most of the Northwest, of very high importance to many coastal and interior cultural groups for thousands of years. Many archaeological sites are chock full of salmon bones, and the oldest of these are around 10,000 years old. As a cultural story, the importance of salmon is obvious. Increasingly though, the archaeological data are also invoked to tell the history of salmon themselves. The very long-term view of the archaeological record provides knowledge of their ranges, their relative abundance, their life histories, etc. These data can then be harnessed as part of conservation and fisheries management of these threatened species of fish.
Each species offers different things to people: some run early, some late; some are more fatty, some leaner; some run in huge compact numbers, others tend to dribble by; some can be caught in large numbers in the open ocean, others can only be caught efficiently in streams. There’s just one problem with using salmon bones in archaeology: until recently, you really couldn’t tell one species of salmon from another based only on their bones.
Northern fluted point from Raven Bluff site. Source: flickr usr The Arctic Archaeologist.
Some time ago I posted about the Serpentine Hot Springs site in Northwestern Alaska, at which several fluted points have been found, apparently dating to about 12,000 years ago. That’s about a thousand years more recent than Clovis, which is the best known of the early “fluted point” archaeological cultures from the Americas. I was interested to come across another site – Raven Bluff – which has recently come to light from the same general area, and which also has fluted points. At Raven Bluff, at least one of these dates to between about 12,000 and 12,500 years ago – also younger than Clovis, which is mainly confined to a narrow window around 13,000 years ago.
Vero Beach, Florida, mammoth engraving. Source: National Geographic.
I’ve been vaguely aware that in 2009 at Vero Beach (map) near Miami, a sensational find came to light of a bone with a mammoth engraved onto it. So far there has not been a lot to say about it but now I read that Dennis Stanford at the Smithsonian has inspected it and found no reason to think it is not genuine (yes, that kind of double-negative convoluted opinion).
Anyway, the story is interesting in its own right and perhaps has some lessons for us on the NW Coast as well, which I’ll discuss at more length below.
Is this laptop even turned on? Actually, yes, I got a lot of work done.
Well, I am back from my twin trips away from blogland and it’ll be time for new posts soon. First, a necessary update: the winner of the snap quiz (name the site, and the technique used to produce the map) is the mysteriously anonymous “bbster“, for answering the Bridge River Site and use of magnetometry. It’ll be hard to hit me up for the beer anonymously, bbster, but perhaps if you bought me quite a few first then my memory would fade anyways. Use the 10,000 blog bragging points wisely! Poster “Mad Dog” came close, and quickly, for Bridge River site but “Electro-Sensitivity” is sadly inaccurate. The image is from a recent progress report on a multiyear project at that site near Lillooet, directed by Dr Anna Prentiss from the University of Montana, and as promised I will post more on that soon. In the meantime I will chip away at some comments left over the past few weeks.
It's definitely not turned on in this picture. Note the side-by-side coffee and wine options.
Being crudely made of more than one piece of wood, their ships were fire hazards.
The Vikings are better known as the Haida of the North Atlantic, so I am sure locals will be delighted to know that Victoria’s newly emplaced Viking Archaeologist, UVIC’s own Dr. Erin McGuire, will be speaking at this month’s Archaeological Society of BC, Victoria Chapter meetings. As ever, these talks are free and open to the public – they just require a modicum of navigational skill to make it to the Pacific Forestry Centre (see the map below). Unfortunately, I am on a bad skid of not being able to make the ASBC so regrets in advance, and if the winner of the mystery quiz (below) shows, they will not be getting their free beer.
You want to live where? Living and dying in Viking Iceland
Dr Erin McGuire, University of Victoria
Tuesday October 19th at 7.30, Pacific Forestry Centre, 506 West Burnside Road (map)
Well, sadly I am going more or less completely “off the grid” for about 10 days so with the possible exception of next Saturday there won’t be any new posts. Regular blogsitter, and soon to be Dr, Sara Perry, will be in residence swatting spam with the same effortless, graceful savagery she uses on her intellectual foes. Sara’s current project, a mini-conference on Visual Archaeology at Southampton in the UK, is worth a look.
Speaking of Visual Archaeology, I leave you with the image above. First correct answer posted below as to what it represents, and which site it is, wins 10,000 blog bragging points and a pint of beer if they are ever in the Velvet Rut, or Blog World Headquarters. I’ll make a post on the study when I get back. If you’re jonesin’ for some NW Coast Archaeology, check out the archives from the selection to the right, or try a random post.
Ground slate ulu blades in progress. Source: Tim Rast, Elfshot.
I’ve mentioned before the terrific Back East archaeology blog Elfshot, in which Tim Rast documents his journey of “making a living as a 21st century flintknapper”. Flintknapping is all well and good, of course, but the real magic lies with ground stone, which for many years has been marginalized in archaeology as being, well, obvious and uninteresting. I think one paper I read digresses with an anecdote about the author’s toddler son independently inventing the technology! If it is so obvious, though, then why is it only selectively implemented by people in certain environments, at certain times, to certain degrees of intensity?