Tag Archives: Central Coast

ASBC Victoria – Public Talk Tue Nov 15th: Duncan McLaren on Early Archaeology of the Central Coast

Duncan McLaren using Livingstone core on Castor Poop Lake on Porcher Island, B.C.. Daryl Fedje holds the leash.

Next up for the local (Victoria) branch of the Archaeological Society of B.C. is a Tuesday, November 15th talk by Dr. Duncan McLaren of Cordillera Archaeology and the Anthropology Department at University of Victoria.  Duncan’s highly successful  Ph.D. thesis was an interdisciplinary, geoarchaeological approach to the early occupation of the Dundas Island group on the northern B.C. coast. He is now in the early stages of applying a similar research program to the Central Coast of B.C., which promises great advances in knowledge.

The talk is free and open to the public, and you don’t need to be an ASBC member to attend.

Early Period Archaeology and Landscapes on the Central Coast of British Columbia

November 15th, 2011, 7:30 pm
Pacific Forestry Centre,

506 West Burnside Road (Map)


Boundary Maintenance

Headland with wooden markers. Click to zoom.

This is one of my favourite pictures of B.C. Archaeology, even though  it doesn’t look like much.  It’s a bit fuzzy: I took it with a zoom lens in about 1985 , rounding a headland in a small boat  on the Central Coast.  In fact, you might think it doesn’t look all that archaeological.  Look closer: sticking up to the right of the white triangle you can see the carved head of a pole.

The white triangle is a standard device used by Fisheries to demarcate the different fishing zones on the coast, for management purposes.  On one side of the triangle there might be different catch limits or closures or seasons of harvest enforced than on the other.

I don’t know much about the pole, but its location on such a prominent headland, facing the open Pacific, next stop Japan, is suggestive it marked a change of territory, a boundary shift, a movement from the control of one lineage or house to another. You don’t often see such a pole away from a village site.

Both wooden markers may ultimately serve the same purpose: boundary maintenance between zones of control; advertisements for power; watchful symbols of formal rights; the means of resource management.  It is intriguing and almost poetic to see them standing, side by side, on the same headland, guarding the same water.

Detail of wooden markers.