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.
Quadra Island Clam Gardens. Source: Groesbeck et al. PLOS-1, 2014.
Nuyumbalees Cultural Centre and Discovery Passage SeaLife Society present:
1. Sea Level History of the Discovery Islands.
Daryl Fedje, University of Victoria
2. Quadra Island’s Ancient Clam Gardens.
Dana Lepofsky, Simon Fraser University
Monday, June 16th | 7 pm Quadra Island Community Centre
So I usually limit my announcements of public talks to those happening in the Victoria backyard of Blog World Headquarters but it so happens there is one exceptional one coming up on Quadra Island, where I’ll be spending the next week. The talk, actually two talks, will focus on two archaeological projects underway up there. The poster advertising the talks is here, or you can read more below.
Posted in Archaeology, Northwest Coast, Vancouver Island
Tagged aquaculture, Archaeology, Campbell River, clam gardens, clams, Discovery Islands, mariculture, Quadra Island, sea level history, SFU, shellfish, uvic
Clam garden in southern Haida Gwaii. Note the rock wall forming the flat terrace feature.
Transforming the Beach, Transforming our Thinking: Ancient Clam Gardens of Northern Quadra Island, BC.
Michelle Puckett (presenter) and Amy Groesbeck, Dana Lepofsky, Anne Salomon, Kirsten Rowell, Nicole Smith and Sue Formosa
Tuesday, May 20th, 7:30pm at the University of Victoria, Cornett Building, Room B129. All welcome, free.
SFU graduate student Michelle Puckett (formerly UVIC’s own) is giving the May ASBC Victoria talk – “clam gardens”. These intertidal features have taken NW Coast archaeology by storm over the last 15 years or so. Each one is a deliberate alteration of the beach in order to enhance shellfish productivity. Hundreds of these are now known, and as archaeologists’ eyes become more tuned to this site type I expect hundreds more to be recorded. Being, in effect, a kind of mariculture or aquaculture, these are important not only to our understanding of long term histories on the coast (they challenge the anthropological type “hunter-gatherer”) but they will also become important in land claims, I am sure. Click below to read the abstract and bio for this talk.
Posted in Archaeology, fieldwork, Northwest Coast, Technology, Vancouver Island
Tagged aquaculture, clam gardens, clams, Intertidal, mariculture, Salish Sea, SFU, shellfish, traditional use, uvic
Screenshot of iPINCH website
I’ve posted a couple of times (1, 2) on the proposed, callous use of a seated human figure bowl as a reality TV show prop. Well, worse than a prop, since the idea is to auction off this sensitive cultural property in pursuit of TV ratings and the advertizing dollars which follow. It’s sort of unfathomably insensitive and stupid, doubly maddening since it’s the CBC, a crown corporation and an entity which really should know better.
Anyway, there’s an interesting and insightful essay by Emily Benson on the IPinCH blog which adds a lot of thoughtful commentary and context for this issue:
The example of the seated human figure bowl and media discussions around it, reflect a broader set of questions and issues related to historical and contemporary relations between Indigenous peoples and settlers in Canada. This case reflects the importance of challenging both public and anthropological conceptions regarding the treatment of Indigenous peoples’ cultural heritage. Explicitly recognizing the relationship of descendant communities to their ancestral /sacred sites and objects, and their rights regarding their cultural heritage, are fundamental to doing so. Key to shifting these perspectives are recognizing the significance of cultural heritage sites and objects to living peoples, and their rights to make decisions regarding their heritage.
It’s part of IPinCH‘s* occasional series “Appropriation of the Month” – most entries are not about the NW Coast but nonetheless many readers here will find a lot of food for thought over there. I particularly encourage you to go over and leave some comments on the bowl issue!
Posted in anthropology, Archaeology, Cultural Resource Management, First Nations, history, Northwest Coast
Tagged appropriation, CBC, ethics, four rooms, iPinch, Reality TV, SFU, Stone Bowls
Sisiutl for Sale
I was browsing to price out some used skiffs, and look what I found – a custom built archaeological research vessel — only $99,000. (I wonder what she cost to build?) The listing is here, with a PDF backup for posterity here.
I don’t have any memories of the Sisiutl — never stepped on board — but I know she is close to the hearts of many SFU faculty and former students.
Posted in Archaeology, fieldwork, history, Northwest Coast, Teaching
Tagged Archaeology, boats, fieldwork, research, SFU, Simon Fraser University, Sisiutl
SFU Archaeology instructor Rudy Reimer holds a small replica of the handmade bentwood boxes that will be used to store ancestral Aboriginal remains. Source: SFU flickr stream.
There have been several newspaper stories recently noting the impending repatriation and reburial of human remains excavated from the famous Namu village site of the Heiltsuk Nation, on the central coast of B.C. For example, here is one from the Vancouver Sun (PDF), another from the Globe and Mail (PDF) and a media release from Simon Fraser University itself, whose archaeology department conducted most of the excavations at this large site in the 1970s and 1980s, mainly under the direction of Roy Carlson. As ever, each newspaper source contains slightly different information.
Posted in anthropology, Archaeology, Cultural Resource Management, First Nations, Northwest Coast
Tagged Heiltsuk, human remains, Namu, reburial, repatriation, SFU, Simon Fraser University
Gwayasdums house under construction 1899. Source: SFU.
The Bill Reid Centre for Northwest Coast Art Studies is part of the Department of Archaeology and First Nation Studies at Simon Fraser University, although it is physically located in downtown Vancouver. It currently shares space with the Bill Reid Gallery on Hornby St., near SFU’s Harbour Centre Campus. They have a website that looks to be growing fast with some good content – and despite the name of the centre, it is not only about Haida Art, or even just about Art:
A major activity of the Centre is to visually document through photographs, drawings and other works, the depth and richness of Northwest Coast Art in the hundreds of communities in which monumental architecture and sculpture were recorded.
I’ll point out a few highlights and make some comments “after the jump”