Cover of TseK’Wa Site Compilation showing “fluted point’ – the document is downloadable from Simon Fraser University
Charlie Lake Cave, also known as Tse’K’wa (the Rock House), is one of the best known archaeological sites in Western North America. Lying in the far NE of British Columbia, it containins a “fluted” projectile point, evidence of bison and small mammal/bird hunting, and shows basal dates of ca. 12,500 years ago. For decades it has been a key link in the understanding of the post-glacial occupation of the Americas. It lies in the “Ice Free Corridor” which is a major focus of continuing research into the earliest periods in North America, and while the situation is very much unresolved, its safe to say that not everyone thinks the corridor was the route of first peoples into the Americas
It’s very cool and welcome, therefore, to see that many of the major scientific papers from this site (many authored or co-authored by Knut Fladmark and Jon Driver – two of B.C.’s pre-eminent archaeologists) are now downloadable for free from Simon Fraser University. The download is on this page, which contains a link to a PDF or an ePUB – but be aware that the PDF is about 100 megs.
The download itself is not the only cool thing of note here, though.
ASBC Nanaimo Members in the Field, 2011: Photo: Colleen Parsley, Source: ASBC Nanaimo.
I posted this as a comment a few days ago, but decided it was worth a post on its own: there is a worrisome news snippet in the Nanaimo paper concerning the Archaeological Society of BC, Nanaimo Chapter. (At least, I infer this is the society in question!).
The full text indicates there will be a public meeting on Monday November 7th at Vancouver Island University which suggests the Nanaimo organization is in tough times:
7 p.m. The Archaeological Society is on the brink of collapse. If you feel the archaeology of Nanaimo and area has significant value, please come share your ideas at Bldg 356 Room 109 on the VIU campus. Continue reading
Archaeological site DcRt 10, Willows Beach, at 2072 Esplanade Avenue, in 2007. Source: Bruce Stotesbury, Timescolonist.com
Sorry for the lack of recent updates everyone, and also for jumping in with a “feel-bad” story, but since the Willows Beach site (DcRt-10) takes up a decent chunk of the most expensive waterfront near me, I was interested to read the coverage of a recent court judgment with an archaeological focus. The Times-Colonist‘s coverage is notable for an egregious misrepresentation in their opening sentence:
“An Oak Bay woman who built a house on an unregistered aboriginal midden has had her bid to recoup $600,000 from the provincial Archeology Branch struck down.”
This is true only for meanings of “unregistered” which include “a site recorded since approximately 1965, and subsequently the object of dozens of archaeological studies, including at least two on that very lot”. Sheesh.
Posted in Archaeology, Cultural Resource Management, Northwest Coast, Vancouver Island
Tagged BC Archaeology Branch, CRM, Cultural Resource Management, Oak Bay, Public Archaeology, Songhees, Victoria BC, Willows Beach
Anthropomorphic and zoomorphic sculpture from Glenrose and St Mungo Cannery sites. Source: Delta heritage passport
The Glenrose Cannery site, which lies on the Fraser River near the Alex Fraser bridge, is one of the mose significant archaeological sites in BC. The human figure on the left, above, dates to the ‘St Mungo” phase, putting it at between 3500 and 5000 years old. It might be the oldest known representation of a human being in British Columbia – well, to my knowledge, it is. Yet, you can already see elements of the formline art appearing – look at the eyebrows, for example. More importantly, look at the beard. Look at the hair, pulled into a bun. This is a portrait of an individual. The artifact, which is probably a small handle for a chisel, is a masterpiece of Canadian art. The site in which it was found shows continuous occupation from the present to about 9,000 years ago and spans up to eight metres of vertical deposits.
So it is disturbing to think that Glenrose might be further affected by development, in this case, road building associated with the “Gateway Project”, a transportation infrastructure megathrust to get stuff to and from the Ports of Vancouver faster. There is a short article in The Province yesterday (archive) in which UBC Professor Emeritus RG Matson, one of the key figures in BC Archaeology, visits the site. We can’t preserve everything from the past, clearly, or all cultures at all times would have been glued to the footprints of their forebears. But a site of such demonstrated significance as Glenrose should probably be completely off limits.
I got the news yesterday that the annual B.C. Archaeology Forum has been scheduled. The event will be co-hosted by the Musqueam First Nation and the UBC Laboratory of Archaeology and held November 5-7. You can download a registration form here (MS-Word document)
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.
Posted in Archaeology, history, Lower Mainland, Northwest Coast, Uncategorized, Vancouver Island
Tagged Archaeological Society of British Columbia, ASBC, historical ecology, Public Archaeology, Public Education, Vancouver, Victoria BC
Detail of diorama of Paleomarine Period, Southeast Alaska. Source: Tongass NF
The Tongass National Forest in Southeast Alaska has a lot of interesting stuff online. I’ve just found they have a cool set of dioramas illustrating different time periods from the last 10,000 years of human history (scroll to the bottom of this page). These start with the palaeomarine period, about 10,000 years, a section of which is seen above. Some of it is conjectural of course and I am not going to go to the wall defending its veracity, but I do appreciate the National Forest making an effort to present the past in an accessible way.
Take that, Sami Salo.
Well I am going into the field on Sunday so this blog will be taking a break soon. Before that happens I might as well strut and prance around a bit and let my eleventeen readers know that (apparently) this blog was awarded the Canadian Archaeological Association‘s annual award for Public Communication (Professional/Institutional Division):
Since 1985, the Canadian Archaeological Association (CAA) has presented annual awards to acknowledge outstanding contributions in communication that further insight and appreciation of Canadian Archaeology. These awards recognise contributions by journalists, film producers, professional archaeologists and institutions and are adjudicated by a committee composed of a regional representation of CAA members.
I say “apparently” because I haven’t heard from them yet (unless they naively left a voice-mail: I check that once a year, whether anyone has left a message or not) but several people have told me it was announced at the recent annual conference in Calgary. So I’ll risk a Dewey beats Truman moment – it might be the only one I get!
Sign at the Horsehoe bay kiosk. Source: tad McIlwraith flickr.com account.
A month or two ago I commented on the Squamish and Lil’wat Cultural Journey website, which explores oral history and place names in the traditional territory of these two southwestern British Columbia First Nations. I was really happy to see that Douglas College Anthropologist (and occasional commenter here) Dr. Tad McIlwraith has carried the review much further. He’s even taken it into the field, so to speak, by documenting and discussing the actual cultural centre itself, and also the roadside kiosks which bring Squamish and Lil’wat histories to the travelling public.
Tad’s review has two parts.
Posted in anthropology, Archaeology, Cultural Resource Management, First Nations, history, Lower Mainland, Northwest Coast, pics, Uncategorized
Tagged Cultural Tourism, Lil'wat, Public Archaeology, Public Education, Sea to Sky, Squamish, Vancouver, Whistler
9,000 year old stone tools from Colville National Forest, Washington. Source: The Spokesman-Review.
I was a little surprised (and probably shouldn’t be) to find out there was an organization called the Association for Washington Archaeology – equivalent to the Archaeological Society of B.C. They have a journal (equivalent to The Midden), and are clearly a respected avocational archaeology organization. They have a pretty low profile, obviously: but partly this must be another symptom of the poor cross-border communication between BC, Alaska, Washington, and Oregon – the core jurisdictions bounding the Northwest Coast. They even have a blog called Washington Archaeology, which is only a few weeks old. Their own link to it is both hidden under a “feedback button” and is broken: I hope that linking it here helps people find it. There’s not much there yet, but it did lead me to a nice news roundup on the Tse-whit-zen site, and also to an interesting story on a 9,000 year old site in the Colville National Forest, near a town called Republic – just south of the Canadian border close to Grand Forks BC. (map). Continue reading
Posted in Archaeology, Northwest Interior, Northwest Coast, Washington State
Tagged Archaeology, Association for Washington Archaeology, Cascades, Colville National Forest, Gwaii Haanas, Public Archaeology, Tse-whit-zen, Washington State, Windust