Paleoethnobotany of Kilgii Gwaay: a 10,700 year old Ancestral Haida Archaeological Wet Site
Tuesday, September 16, 2014, 7:30 pm
Cornett Building B129
(North End of Cornett building)
University of Victoria (map)
The Victoria Chapter of the Archaeological Society of BC (ASBC) has a long-running monthly Fall-Spring speaker series which is starting again next week. The speaker is UVic Anthropology graduate student Jenny Cohen, speaking on results from her paleobotanical analysis of the 10,700 year old intertidal wet site, Kilgii Gwaay, in southern Haida Gwaii. It’s a fascinating site which gives real insight into the way of life of Ancestral Haida at the Pleistocene-Holocene transition and I’m sure Jenny’s thesis, nearing completion, will be of wide interest.
If you don’t have enough Kilgii Gwaay in your life then I recommend you jump over to the Burnt Embers blog, where there are some excellent photos from the tricky intertidal excavations at that site a few years ago: Setting Up; Keeping Water Out; Putting Water In; Water Screening; and Kilgii Gwaay Finds.
Abstract: Kilgii Gwaay is an intertidal archaeological site, located in southern Haida Gwaii, British Columbia. Worked wood artifacts revealed the site’s significance as one of the earliest known examples of preserved plant usage on the Northwest Coast. Further excavations and analyses as part of my thesis research have added considerably to the known plant technologies and local paleoecology. Anatomical and morphological analyses of waterlogged material indicate the use of several species by ancestral Haida, including Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis), Western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla), alder (Alnus sp.), salmonberry (Rubus spectabilis), and red elderberry (Sambucus racemosa). These preliminary findings are consistent with local resource use and demonstrate the occurrence of technological practices, such as root- and wood-splitting, millennia before the widespread advent of western redcedar (Thuja plicata) in the region.
Bio: Jenny Cohen is finishing her Masters at the University of Victoria under the supervision of Dr. Quentin Mackie. She has been with Parks Canada and UVic on various Northwest Coast archaeological research projects since 2009. She also does artifact illustration and has worked in consulting archaeology. Her main interest areas are paleoethnobotany and environmental archaeology of early Holocene coastal sites. She incorporates previous training in horticulture, herbalism and fine arts into her research.
For information, phone 384-6059