Dixon’s 1787 map showing Haida Gwaii as an Island. Source: Library of Congress
Old Maps are Cool. Enough said. Or maybe not quite enough. Continue reading
Autonomous Underwater Vehicle on surface of Juan Perez Sound, Haida Gwaii, with Parks Canada support vessel behind.
With sea levels rising by at least 120m globally at the end of the last ice age, conventional archaeological wisdom has been that sites on ancient coastlines are now deeply drowned. As is so often the case, conventional wisdom is over-simplified. The B.C. coast is a good example, since the effect of ice weighting in some places counterbalanced the lower sea levels, meaning significant chunks of the coastal plain and paleo-coastlines were never-drowned. Nonetheless, the underwater environment off the west coast doubtless contains thousands of early-period archaeological sites. Looking on land is more convenient, easier, cheaper, and allows one to breathe air – all good things. But looking underwater has some attractions too: methodological challenges, modelling issues, thinking about human life on a shrinking landmass, and a ridiculous amount of media coverage. The last is particularly important to University Administrators. Anyway, this month’s ASBC Victoria talk (poster, PDF) is on a project from a couple of years back which focused on attempting to find a particular kind of archaeological site on the sea floor: drowned fish weirs, especially rock wall ones, starting from the premise that such sites, which are often substantial in size, should be confined to stream channels and might be directly visible to sidescan sonar. For more information on the talk, click below.
2002 excavations at Kilgii Gwaay Site.
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: Continue reading
Posted in Archaeology, Haida Gwaii, Northwest Coast
Tagged Archaeological Society of BC, ASBC, ethnobotany, Gwaii Haanas, Haida Gwaii, Haida Nation, Kilgii Gwaay, paleoethnobotany, waterlogged sites, wet sites
Masset, ca. 1924. Source: University of Canterbury, NZ.
I found myself poking around in a New Zealand archive at the University of Canterbury the other day and found some nice historic pictures from the NW Coast. These are assigned to the collection of John Macmillan Brown, an early New Zealand academic and, in retirement, an amateur anthropologist. I am guessing these pictures were taken by him in retirement. Most are undated; one carries a date of 1924. The subjects are familiar yet the views are new – the more we can catalogue the world’s pictures of the NW Coast, the better we can understand the processes of transformation which continue to unfold.
Update: fixed links, sort of. Note to web types: you should always provide stable URLs, none of this “your search has expired” junk. If you want your collections used, and you do, because you put them on the web, you need to make it so the results can be bookmarked and shared. Gosh.
Skidegate ca. 1924. Are those oarlocks on that canoe? Source: University of Canterbury.
Posted in anthropology, Archaeology, archives, First Nations, Haida Gwaii, history, Northwest Coast, pics
Tagged anthropology, Haida Gwaii, Haida Nation, history, Massett, New Zealand, Northwest Coast, photography, Skidegate
- Scene from Our World, a film created by Kiefer Collison.
The Council of the Haida Nation has an informative website with many links to documents and other material, giving a vivid picture of the vibrancy, and challenges, of contemporary Haida culture.
Among the interesting items on that page, the “Our World” series of short videos which deftly mix ancient and modern are particularly worth checking out:
These are the among the visions of young Haida today.