Victoria ASBC Meeting, November 19, 2013. Speaker: Brendan Burke

In the Heartland of Kadmos: Excavations at Ancient Eleon in Boeotia (Greece)

The results of three seasons of excavations at the acropolis of ancient Eleon in eastern Boeotia is presented. This project is a co-operative project of the Canadian Institute in Greece, with UVic as the sponsoring institution, and the 9th Ephorate of the Greek Ministry of Culture. The project has revealed substantial architecture contemporary with the great Mycenaean palaces of the Aegean Bronze Age (ca. 1600-1100 BC), and significant material dating to the period just after the great destructions of the famous palace sites. Also presented will be of material of Archaic and Classical date which demonstrates later Greeks were well aware of their Bronze Age pasts.


Some background on Mr Burke can be found here:

Currently, I am Chair and Associate professor of Greek and Roman Studies at UVic. I got my PhD at UCLA in Archaeology and have been at UVic since 2003. I’ve excavated in Turkey, at the site of Gordion, the capital of King Midas, and since 2007, I have co-directed the Eastern Boeotia Archaeological Project in Greece. This project began as a surface survey and in 2011 excavations began. Each year I bring about 20 students from UVic and elsewhere to excavate and learn about the archaeology of Greece.


Victoria ASBC Meeting, October 15, 2013. Speaker: Morley Eldridge

A New Methodology for Mitigative Archaeological Excavation: The Excavation of GbTo-13 and GbTo-54, Prince Rupert, B.C.

Millennia Research Limited developed a new method of archaeological excavation in 2012 and used it to excavate the totality of two archaeological sites in Prince Rupert. The methods amount to a new paradigm of archaeological field work, without excavation squares, or levels, or virtually any paper forms. The system uses real-world coordinates as the basic organizational principal for all data collection. A total station collects data precise coordinates in three dimensions; tablet computers record descriptive data, photographs, sketches, etc and send it to cloud computers; and bar codes connect the two data sets and replace bag labelling. No data transcription is needed afterwards. The end result is a huge increase in excavation speed and quality of data. The data is then manipulated in a database program and GIS software with 3-D capability. The results are, we think amazing, and the possibilities for analysis almost unlimited.

Members coming to the talk can get a taste of some of the fascinating artifacts and view 3D images of the data on Millennia’s Facebook page or directly on our web site,

Morley Eldridge, MA, RPCA, is the president of Millennia Research, and has 44 years of archaeological experience in BC.


Victoria ASBC Meeting, September 17, 2013. Speaker: Peter W. Stahl

Archaeology in the Galápagos Islands

This presentation explores issues involving conservation biology, the emergence of novel ecosystems, and the historic production of humanized landscapes in Ecuador’s Galápagos National Park. It considers the development of a unique and internationally renowned biota and the inevitable materialization of a “Galápagos Paradox” in which human interest undermines those features of the ecosystem which originally attracted human interest. The image of a people-free natural laboratory for seeing and understanding evolution is essential to the existence of a lucrative ecotourism industry, but in the process it obscures a temporally deeper and more complex association with humans.

Peter W. Stahl is a professor in the Anthropology Department at the University of Victoria.  He writes:

I am an archaeologist working in the neotropics with interests in historical ecology, tropical forest ecology, zooarchaeology, vertebrate taphonomy, and Amazonian ethnography. I have participated in field projects throughout the Western Hemisphere and Africa. I received the Ph.D in Anthropology from the University of Illinois in 1984.

Over the years, most of my research contributions have come from Ecuador. My current projects include Early Holocene zooarchaeology of Las Vegas assemblages in southwestern Ecuador, and excavations and analyses of Formative archaeological contexts in the southern highlands. We are currently in the early planning stages of a multi-year archaeological/historical ecological project in the Galápagos Islands. I also collaborate with Clark Erickson (University of Pennsylvania) in his research projects in the Amazonian Department of the Beni, Bolivia.


Victoria ASBC Meeting, May 28, 2013. Speaker: Stuart Stark

Discovering the Colwood Dairy and Cheese House: A rare Puget Sound Agricultural Company farm building


Stuart Stark will give an illustrated talk about finding a “lost” building of the 1850’s – the third oldest building in the Capital Region, situated in Colwood.  The Puget Sound Agricultural Company was a subsidiary of the Hudson’s Bay Company, charged with producing food and materials to support the Bay’s trading posts.  Captain Edward Langford was hired to build and manage what was originally named the Esquimalt Farm; he named the house he built there “Colwood”, after his house in Sussex.  The dairy is the last surviving structure of the farm.  Historic research, using maps and letters, coupled with revealing archaeological finds (made by members of the Victoria ASBC) give a wonderful overview of one of the earliest agricultural settlements on Vancouver Island.

Stuart Stark is a Heritage Consultant, who has specialized in the conservation and restoration of historic sites for over 30 years. He directed the restoration of the Chapel at St. Ann’s Academy, and has worked or the restoration of Point Ellice House, Emily Carr House, the Courtroom at the Maritime Museum and Craigflower Manor and Schoolhouse. Mostly working in Victoria, he has also worked on a sternwheeler and telegraph office in the Yukon, and on buildings in both Barkerville and Fort Steele. Further afield, he wrote a comprehensive report on the restoration of the Entrance Hall of Dundurn Castle in Hamilton Ontario. Most recently he has written conservation reports for both Helmcken House and St Ann’s Pioneer Convent and Schoolhouse, both buildings managed by the Royal BC Museum. He also lectures and writes about early architecture and local history.


Victoria ASBC Meeting, April 16th, 2013. Speaker: Dr. Keith Manchester

‘But alive again unto God; Leprosy in Antiquity’

keith manch photo

Dr. Keith Manchester is an honorary visiting professor of paleopathology at Bradford University, UK, who happens to be visiting Victoria this month.  His interests and research lie in the Mycobacterial diseases of Tuberculosis and Leprosy.  Keith has worked in Archaeological Sciences for many years, contributing to teaching and research.  He has written a number of books, most recently, he co-authored The Archaeology of Disease with Dr. Charlotte Roberts.

The April lecture for the ASBC is entitled, ‘But alive again unto God; Leprosy in Antiquity’ will examine paleopathological, artform and literary evidence, the earliest global evidence of the disease, its mediaeval evolution, the ‘religiosociomedical’ measures invoked in the Middle Ages to control disease, and modern hypotheses for the decline of leprosy in the mediaeval period in Europe.  Keith promises some great photos!

This is a lecture that is suited for academic and community audiences.  Admission is free.

Keith Manchester MB. BS., BSc. DSc(Hons), F.R.A.I, Hon. Professor of Palaeopathology, Biological Anthropology Research Centre, Division of Archaeological Sciences, University of Bradford, UK.


Victoria ASBC Meeting, February 19th, 2013. Speakers: Nicole Smith and Iain McKechnie

Coastal Field Archaeology in Huu-ay-aht Territory: Highlights from the 2012 Bamfield Marine Science Centre Archaeological Field School

 iain nic canoe photo

In July and August of 2012, the Huu-ay-aht First Nation and the Bamfield Marine Science Centre co-hosted a ‘Coastal Field Archaeology’ course on Huu-ay-aht Government Lands in Barkley Sound on western Vancouver Island. Fifteen anthropology students from UBC, Simon Fraser University, and the University of Victoria participated with the support of two Huu-ay-aht youth, two instructors, and a teaching assistant. This presentation features highlights from the 2012 field season which involved fieldwork at three very different sites strongly connected to recent and ancient Huu-ay-aht history (two coastal villages and one inland canoe manufacturing site). Students participated in survey and mapping, coring, and augering, as well as conventional excavation and column sampling all of which generated an exciting array of archaeological observations, including historic, pre-contact and nearly contemporary artifacts and house features.

Nicole Smith (MA, UVic) has been working as an archaeologist in coastal BC for the last thirteen years as a graduate student, consultant, researcher, and educator. She presently works from home in Vancouver as a consulting archaeologist and enjoys collaborating on academically driven projects with First Nations and colleagues at UVic, SFU, UBC, and Parks Canada.

Iain McKechnie is a coastal zooarchaeologist and a PhD candidate in the Department of Anthropology at University of British Columbia whose research focuses on Nuu-chah-nulth archaeology on western Vancouver Island. He has an MA from Simon Fraser University and is a former executive member of the Victoria Branch of the ASBC


Victoria ASBC Meeting, January 15, 2013. Speaker: David Fargo

The Lajia Site: Subsistence Practices and Animal Use in Early Bronze Age Northern China

In this talk, I will provide an overview of my research at a large village site in Northern China. My research involves the identification and analysis of faunal remains, although I will also discuss some of the other findings from the site. My aim is to provide a better understanding of food production as well as the social and ritual use of animals during a period where larger centers of power were emerging and new domesticates, namely sheep, were being exploited. This information has the potential to widen our perspective on the social and cultural transformations that would eventually lead to the historical period and the appearance of the Chinese dynastic system.

David Fargo is a master’s student in the department of Anthropology at the University of Victoria. In the summer of 2011, David conducted a faunal analysis at the Institute of Archaeology, in Beijing.


Victoria ASBC Meeting, November 20, 2012. Speaker: Grant Keddie

Human Movements across the Planet.

Grant Keddie, Curator of Archaeology at the Royal B.C. Museum, will present an overview of human movements across the Old and New Worlds based on the latest research in Human DNA. His quest for his own genetic history forms a part of the story.


Victoria ASBC Meeting, October 16, 2012. Speaker: Quentin Mackie

Preliminary Results of the 2012 Gwaii Haanas Archaeology Program.

The 2012 archaeological research program in Gwaii Haanas (in Haida Gwaii/the Queen Charlotte Islands) had several quite distinct components.  In this talk I will review new finds from the 10,700 year old Kilgii Gwaay wet site, where favourable preservation of organic artifacts allows accurate assessment of early period technological capacities.  I will also review new finds from the Burnaby Narrows area, where excavation on a series of sites on relict shorelines is helping to fill in gaps in the very poorly known 5000 to 2000 year old time period in Haida Gwaii.  Excavation in 2012 focused on testing different terrace heights and establishing chronology, but a number of interesting artifacts were found, including decorated bone, a large chalcedony assemblage, and what appears to be an early appearance of ground stone celts in the middle Holocene period.

Quentin Mackie is on the faculty of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Victoria, where he teaches, and also supervises M.A. and Ph.D graduate students.  His fieldwork has taken him primarily to Haida Gwaii and southern Vancouver Island/the Gulf Islands, where he works in collaboration with Parks Canada archaeologists.  He writes the highly regarded blog “Northwest Coast Archaeology”, found at


Victoria ASBC Meeting, September 18, 2012. Speaker: Beth Weathers

Investigation into Intertidal Bedrock Bowls at Willows Beach, Victoria BC

beth stone bowls photo

In 2009, Beth Weathers was informed by a local resident that there were some “indian bowls” in a bedrock outcrop at Willows Beach in the Oak Bay area of Victoria. Upon investigation, she identified and recorded 27 bowls that have been ground into one granite outcrop near the mouth of Bowker Creek. These bowls, and others like them, eventually became the topic of her MA thesis. Beth will present information and results to date from her studies into these fascinating ancient features.

Beth Weathers has worked as a professional archaeologist for over a decade, first in Cultural Resource Management consulting, then at the British Columbia Archaeology Branch, where she is still employed. She was also Instructor and TA for two semesters at UVic during her spare time.


Victoria ASBC Meeting, May 15, 2012. Speaker: Ian Sellers

Metal, Glass, and the Stuff of Colonialism in Barkley Sound

During the course of the nineteenth century, the Nuu-chah-nulth in Barkley Sound were severely reduced by disease and constrained through reserve allocation, conflict, and political conglomeration. Trade waxed and waned in extremes with the fur, dogfish oil, pilchard, logging, and fishing industries. Yet, throughout this episodic change, the Nuu-chah-nulth maintained a strong presence in the Sound and continue to use their territories and resources in creative ways. Although we have a considerable number of ethnographic and historical sources that document pre-contact assemblages and the earliest years of the Maritime Fur Trade, the intricacies of material use in nineteenth century Barkley Sound remain poorly understood. This project gathers contact-period archaeological assemblages from six sites in the area to bring this turbulent period to the fore. By tracking material change at the village level, I hope to explore the creative use of new manufactures for local purposes and distil patterns of trade that reflect wider shifts in Nuu-chah-nulth social organization.

Ian Sellers is a graduate student in the Department of Archaeology at Simon Fraser University. His research focuses on the historic archaeology of British Columbia but extends across the archaeology of the recent past.


Victoria ASBC Meeting, April 17, 2012. Speaker: Jacques Marc

Exploring the Underwater Heritage of British Columbia

The waters of British Columbia abound with sunken archeological sites. Thousands of ships have sunk off our coast and in our inland lakes and rivers and thousands of years of First Nations history lies in the water off old village sites.

Formed in 1975 the UASBC is dedicated to researching, exploring, mapping and protecting the submerged cultural resources of British Columbia. A volunteer organization the UASBC, conducts expeditions to search for sites, provides Nautical Archaeology Training to prepare divers for U/W work, publishes a newsletter to share our experiences and holds monthly meetings to inform members and guests about our upcoming activities.

Jacques will walk you thought the activities of the UASBC and will share some of their experiences and discoveries with us. Along the way he will introduce you to some of the technology used to search for wrecks and introduce you to some of the unique submerged cultural resources of BC.

To learn more about the UASBC please explore our web site http://www.UASBC.Com

Jacques Marc is the Explorations Director for the Underwater Archaeological Society of British Columbia. He was certified as an open water SCUBA diver in 1975. He is an avocational U/W archaeologist who has spent 27 years diving on and documenting historic shipwrecks around the province of British Columbia. In his capacity as Explorations Director he co-ordinates many of the societies expeditions to search for and document submerged cultural sites in the province. He is also responsible to ensure that provincial documenting shipwreck forms are completed and submitted to the provincial Archaeology Branch. Jacques has participated on survey expeditions with James Delgado to the Arctic to survey Roald Amundsen’s exploration vessel Maude and to the Columbia River to survey the HBC Isabella lost in 1830. Jacques has written and presented papers at the Society for Historical Archaeology Conferences and has published 6 booklets on shipwrecks under the UASBC banner. Recently he authored a hard cover book entitled “Pacific Coast Ship China” which was published by the Royal BC Museum. In addition to his explorations role Jacques served as the UASBC president from 2002-2008.


Victoria ASBC Meeting, March 20, 2012. Speaker: Dr. Susan Crockford

Lions & Tigers & Hybrids, oh my! Species identity conundrums in human & animal remains found in archaeological sites

The study of ancient humans has benefited enormously from new DNA technologies, especially the extraction of genetic information from bone. But it has also revealed surprising, sometimes confounding results – were Neanderthals, for example, members of a distinct species or a subset of modern humans? If so, did they hybridize? In this broad survey, I will present examples from the animal world where ancient DNA analysis has been used to correct, corroborate or confound identification based on bone morphology (including evidence of past hybridization events), some of which I have been involved with directly (e.g. ancient Northwest Coast dogs, ancient NW Coast bluefin tuna, an extinct species of whale from Alaska).

No scary science in this talk, lots of interesting facts you can use later to impress your friends.

Dr. Susan Crockford obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology from the University of B.C. in 1976 and a Doctorate in 2004 from the University of Victoria. She has more than 30 years experience in the specialized field of archaeozoology, and is a recognized expert in the identification and analysis of animal bone (including fish, birds and marine mammals) necessary for a range of biological and archaeological studies.

Susan has many peer-reviewed academic publications and regularly gives presentations at international biological and archaeological conferences. Some topics of interest and recent publications include: changes in prehistoric distributions of Pacific bluefin tuna, Pacific sardines, northern fur seals and several species of arctic seals (especially ringed and bearded seals); evolution of dogs and polar bears; the role of thyroid hormone and iodine in biological evolution. She recently co-authored a paper describing a 33,000 year old dog-like canid from the Altai Mountains of Siberia that got a lot of press.

Susan currently works full time doing contract analysis for Pacific Identifications (a company she co-owns with two colleagues), but she also holds an adjunct faculty position in Graduate Studies and the Anthropology Department at the University of Victoria.


Victoria ASBC Meeting, February 21, 2012. Speaker: Jim Stafford

Coast Interior Archaeology of Nimpkish River Valley, Northeastern Vancouver Island      

This presentation will focus on work conducted by Coast Interior Archaeology on behalf of the ‘Namgis Nation in the Nimpkish Valley and nearby areas of Northern Vancouver Island from 2004 to present.  Based upon archaeological and ethnographic evidence it is clear that traditions associated with inland adaptations are strong in the Nimpkish Valley.

Topics and/or sites presented will include, but not be limited to: the Nimpkish valley as travel corridor, Woss Lake to Tahsis Inlet overland trail (present to 6400 years ago), Woss Lake Rockshelter (present to 6400 years ago), Woss Lake camp site (3000 to 6400 years ago), Kokish Inland Hunting? Site (6400 -10,600 years ago), Port McNeill raised beach site (9500 years ago), Nimpkish Valley fire history, bark harvested and aboriginally logged forests.

Jim Stafford is the sole proprietor of archaeological consulting firm, Coast Interior Archaeology, and has participated in archaeological and anthropological research in British Columbia since 1992, with a focus on coastal BC.


Victoria ASBC Meeting, Jan 17,2012. Speaker: Allison Tripp

The Disappearance of the “Venuses”: Studies on diversity and homogeneity in anthropomorphic statuettes of the Gravettian in Eurasia.

The discovery of more than a hundred Gravettian “Venus” statuettes across Eurasia continues to spawn more than a century of debate. While research has attempted to shed light on these objects, they remain mysterious. This research tests the assumption that the Paleolithic “Venuses” are one cohesive unit. Analyses of the Waist-to-Hip Ratio, body shapes, and contextual details of the female statuettes, suggest that they are diverse in both form and function. Instead of trying to create an all-encompassing hypothesis in regards to form or function of these objects, future analyses should focus on explaining diversity and its implications.

Allison Tripp is a PhD student at the University of Victoria. She completed a Bachelor of Arts at the University of California Santa Barbara and a Master of Philosophy at Leiden University in the Netherlands. She has done archaeological fieldwork in Germany, Spain, and The Republic of Georgia and has pursued graduate research in Germany and Russia. She has received grants from Leiden University Funds and the Archaeology Department at Leiden University. Her research interests include Paleolithic art and mind/brain evolution. She served as a research assistant in the Psychology Department at New Mexico State University under the direction of Dr. James Kroger where she learned EEG. This semester she will be working with Dr. Adam Krawitz at the University of Victoria and learning fMRI. She currently has a peer reviewed article in press in Archaeology Ethnology and Anthropology of Eurasia entitled “Analyzing Fertility and Attraction in the Paleolithic: The Venus Figurines.”


Victoria ASBC Meeting, November 15, 2011. Speaker: Duncan McLaren

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

This talk will present the results of recent field research being undertaken on the Central Coast of British Columbia, which is focused on furthering our understanding of the early occupation of the region.

Duncan McLaren is the owner and operator of Cordillera Archaeology, an archaeological contracting firm based in Victoria, BC. He also is an adjunct professor in the Department of Anthropology and the University of Victoria.


Victoria ASBC Meeting, October 18, 2011. Speaker: Daryl Fedje

Intertidal Archaeology in the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve

Recent investigations in the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve included a focus on the intertidal zone. Analyses of cultural and paleoecological data obtained from these investigations has resulted in a more detailed sea level history for the area and, discovery of a suite of archaeological sites associated with sea levels slightly lower than modern. These now-intertidal sites include intact shell middens and apparent house features dating as early as 4,000 years ago.

Daryl Fedje is a long-time archaeologist with Parks Canada, now based in Sidney, B.C. He is widely published, with a respected international reputation; he has worked extensively in Haida Gwaii, amongst other areas.  The research in the Gulf Islands that he directs, co-directs, or facilitates is some of the latest and most exciting work directly relevant to the Victoria region.


Victoria ASBC Meeting, Sept 20, 2011. Speaker: Kelsey MacLean

Hiikwis – A Chipped Stone Site in Barkley Sound, West Coast of Vancouver Island


In 2008, Hiikwis became the first archaeological site in Barkley Sound with a significant sample of chipped stone materials. This material provides new insights into the culture history of Barkley Sound and the Nuu-chah-nulth peoples. It is well known that settlement patterns changed drastically in Barkley Sound from approximately 1500 to 1000 AD (Marshall 1993:40), which is a period of occupation represented at Hiikwis. Although the population movements both before and during this time have been theorized about before, Hiikwis is causing researchers to reconsider their previous assertions.

Analysis of the chipped stone materials aims to determine who created these stone tools, and why there is a relative abundance of these tools at this site in contrast to the surrounding excavated locations. Essentially, why are there chipped stone tools here, but not next door?

Kelsey MacLean is currently an MA candidate at the University of Victoria.  She is an executive member of the Victoria Branch of the Archaeological Society of BC and has a BA in Anthropology and Sociology from the University of Victoria. Her first fieldwork experience was in Barkley Sound in 2008 and she has returned each summer for further research. Her interest in the Tseshaht and the Barkley Sound region led to her pursuing her MA thesis project within this extended archaeological project.


Victoria ASBC Meeting, May 17, 2011. Speakers: Kristi Bowie and Kira Kristensen

Preliminary Investigation Results from DcRu-1151: A Locarno-Age Living and Processing Site at Esquimalt Lagoon.

 kristi kira photo

DcRu-1151 is located approximately 500 m inland from the Esquimalt Lagoon in Colwood, B.C., in the vicinity of the new Aquattro townhouse and condominium development. Archaeological investigations were conducted by I.R. Wilson Consultants Ltd. (now Stantec) in late 2007 and continued until Spring 2008. Investigations into the site revealed what is anticipated to be a Locarno Phase semi-subterranean house-floor containing a carefully constructed hearth. Adjacent to this a second smaller semi-subterranean feature containing an unusual clay- and rock-lined oven or hearth. These features are believed to be unique to the region. DcRu-1151 shares a contemporaneous time frame with DcRu-74, located within 500 m southeast of DcRu-1151. DcRu-74 is believed to be the only known Locarno-period wet site on southern Vancouver Island.

This talk will discuss the spatial distribution of these unique features as they offer a unique opportunity to explore the construction and use of Locarno-age housing. We also hope to encourage dialogue about their function.

Kira Kristensen is a professional member of the BC Association of Professional Archaeologist (BCAPA) and has been working in consulting archaeology since 2000. She has supervised and conducted extensive archaeological surveys, impact assessments and excavations in British Columbia from the northeastern portions of the province to Vancouver Island. Originally from Vancouver Island, Kira is happy to be home and living in Port Alberni, BC and is enjoying working for Madrone Environmental Services in Duncan, BC.

Kristi Bowie is currently a fulltime graduate student at UVic completing her MA in Anthropology. For over eight years she has been consulting in archaeology, paleontology and forensics for organizations including the RCMP, American Museum of Natural History and most recently several years with I.R. Wilson Consultants Ltd., now Stantec. Kristi’s MA studies are centred on the issue of Indigenous children who are considered missing and reputed to be buried in unmarked burial and cemetery sites associated with former residential schools in Canada.


Victoria ASBC Meeting, April 19, 2011. Speaker: Grant Keddie

DNA and Human Migration: An Illustrated Talk.

All of us human beings contain the evidence of our biological relationship with each other in our DNA. What does the current evidence reveal about the movements of human populations through time? The quest in search of my own genetic ancestors uncovers the complexity of European and Middle East history that many of us share.

Grant Keddie is the Curator of Archaeology at the Royal B.C. Museum.


Victoria ASBC Meeting, March 15, 2011. Speaker: Dr. Andy Roddick

A High Altitude “Big Bang”: Late Formative Period (200 BC-450 AD) Archaeology in Highland Bolivia

Archaeology in the Lake Titicaca Basin of Bolivia and Peru has exploded in the last 20 years, with a significant number of research projects focusing on the Late Formative Period This archaeological period directly precedes the appearance of Tiwanaku, an urban and expansive society a thousand years before the Inca Empire. In this talk I will introduce the Tiwanaku phenomena, and explore what we have been learning about the earlier Late Formative Period. Drawing on a long-term project in the high plains of Bolivia, I will discuss some of the social and political processes that define this 650 year period. I will highlight a variety of rhythms in these changes, from slow changes surrounding human-environmental interactions, to what might be called the social and political “big bang” that defined the appearance of Tiwanaku.

Dr. Andy Roddick has conducted archaeological fieldwork in Canada, Belize, Peru and Bolivia. Since 2002, he has been a core member of the Taraco Archaeological Project, an international project working on the edge of Lake Titicaca, Bolivia. Dr. Roddick is an expert in prehistoric analysis of ceramics, and uses a range of geological and geophysical tools in his research. He received his BA and MA from the University of British Columbia, and his PhD from the University of California Berkeley. He is currently an adjunct professor of Anthropology and a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Victoria.


Victoria ASBC Meeting, February 15, 2011. Speaker: Ben Hjermstad

Excavation of a Buffalo Kill Site On the Canadian Prairies

The Fitzgerald Site (ElNp-8) is a 1200 year old bison kill and processing site located 15 km south of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Analysis of artifacts and faunal remains from two years of excavations at this site provided evidence of a highly sophisticated communal hunting techniques and selective use of bison to provide the stores of food necessary to support large populations through the harsh prairie winters.

This talk will provide a summary of the results of my thesis work at the Fitzgerald Site. Particular focus will be paid to the techniques used to hunt the bison at this site, and how these techniques relate to ethnographic and historical literature on communal hunting practices in the Northern Plains. The butchering techniques employed by the hunters will also be discussed using utility indices that measure meat, fat and grease content to determine which animals, and which parts of the animals were selected for processing and why.

Ben Hjermstad is an archaeologist at Golder Associates’ Victoria office. After completing his degree at the University of Victoria, he worked for 20 years as an archaeologist in the Rocky Mountains and Northern Plains, completing an MA in Anthropology at the University of Saskatchewan in 1995. He returned to Victoria five years ago, refusing to ever complain again about our sometimes damp weather.


Victoria ASBC Meeting, January 18, 2011. Speaker: Pete Dady

Wooden Projectile Points

When people think of archaeology they commonly think of stone arrowheads.  ASBC members have often requested, “Let’s have more talks about artifacts!”  And when they say “artifacts”, they are often thinking of stone arrowheads.  But in fact most projectile points in this area and in the rest of the world were probably made of wood, which unfortunately doesn’t survive in most archaeological sites.  We will examine how this perishability has affected our understanding of past cultures.

Triangular bifaces of black basaltic stone are, however, commonly found in shell middens on the shores of the Georgia and Juan de Fuca straits.  Archaeologists interpret them as arrowheads – the arming points of hunting arrows – and as a marker of the “Late Period” of Straits Salish culture.  We will examine these bifaces, and the interpretations of them, and will use both as a jumping-off point to look at the archaeology of the straits.  What assumptions do people make about “arrowheads”, and about the cultures that used them?  What assumptions are archaeologists making about these particular arrowheads when they are interpreting them?  Are they in fact arrowheads?  What do arrowheads mean?

Pete Dady has been a consulting archaeologist working in B.C. since 1994, and is the president of the Victoria Branch of the ASBC.  He was born and raised in Victoria and has a degree in Anthropology from the University of Victoria.  He has a special interest in the prehistory of this area.


ASBC Victoria, November 16, 2010. Speaker: Morley Eldridge, Millennia Research Limited

Spectacular Artifacts from the Williston Reservoir in Northern B.C.

morley wiiliston photo

Some archaeologists have jokingly described the many spectacular artifacts found at Williston Lake as “archaeological porn”.  Archaeological work by Millennia Research Limited continued in the Williston Reservoir in 2010; now some 7300 ha have now been intensively surveyed, with archaeologists no more than 5 m from any location over this vast area.  Thousands of artifacts have been collected and even more mapped with 2 to 5 m precision.  The fieldwork took place on a remarkable landscape, the nearly billiard-table level surface of ancient glacial lakes, dissected by small drainages.  Scattered on this surface, and re-exposed because overlaying soils have washed away, are the artifacts from the entire late Pleistocene and Holocene periods.  A large number of apparently Clovis-diagnostic artifacts, including very large blades and blade cores, continue to be found, but the lack of true Clovis points and reduction strategies suggest that the Clovis-style blade-and-core technologies probably date to a later period and were retained longer in the Peace drainage compared to much of the rest of North America.  During analysis of the 2009 data it was realized that the ‘fishtail’ point style appears to be a northern point style probably contemporaneous with Folsom.  These points occasionally are found in Folsom components, in dated contemporaneous sites near the Great Lakes, and on the oldest glacial lake shorelines in northern Alberta.  Also present are artifacts spanning almost all the paleoindian period as defined on the Great Plains.  Two pieces of what are believed to be the same ancient point were found some 23 km apart, and on opposite sides of the river valley. Besides points, other artifacts diagnostic of the paleoindian period such as burins and spurred scrapers were found.  Although paleoindian period artifacts formed the majority of the finds, the archaic or middle period, late precontact, and historic period artifacts of the Tsay Keh Dene were also present.  More evidence for Ice Mountain Microblade Industry was found in 2010. A unique find in 2010 was a spectacular large polychromatic nephrite adze blade, likely traded from southern BC.  The artifact assemblages show strong links to the plains to the east, the boreal forests to the north and northeast, mountains to the northwest, and sporadic contacts with peoples to the south.

Morley Eldridge is the president of Millennia Research Limited, a Victoria archaeological consulting company.   2010 marks his 42nd field year.  Morley’s special interests are predictive archaeological modeling and remote sensing (particularly with LiDAR data), wet sites and basketry, archaeological data management, and (especially now!) paleoindian remains in northwest America.


ASBC Victoria Meeting, October 19, 2010. Speaker: Dr Erin McGuire, University of Victoria

You want to live where? Living and dying in Viking Iceland

More than 1100 years ago a group of settlers decided that Iceland looked like a suitable place to live. They established farms in a virgin landscape and attempted to recreate, and perhaps reinvent, the lives they had been living in their homelands. These settlers were one wave of an extended period of migration that defined what we call the Viking Age. In their new Icelandic homes, they lived, farmed, fought, loved, and died, much as they would have in Norway. But subtle differences in the landscape and resources available to them, as well as the new opportunities and challenges that arise when people start fresh, provided them with the opportunity to forge distinct identities. In this talk, we will look at what life would have been like for the Icelandic Viking settlers, using evidence drawn from archaeological excavations across the country. Although the evidence is fragmentary, as is the case in any archaeological research, the stories we can tell are compelling, and I hope that they will inspire you, much as they have inspired me.

Dr Erin McGuire is a Senior Instructor in Anthropology at the University of Victoria. Her research looks at human migration and burial practices in the context of the Viking North Atlantic. Recently moved to Victoria from Glasgow, Scotland, Erin has been on the move most of her life, and studying the emergence of migrant identities seemed like a natural choice for her. At the University of Glasgow, she completed her PhD in archaeology and taught for both the Department of Archaeology and the University of Glasgow’s Learning and Teaching Centre. Although she spends much of her time these days teaching about the discipline of Anthropology, the Vikings still hold a special place in her heart, and she enjoys speaking about them when the opportunity arises.


ASBC Victoria Meeting, Sept 21, 2010. Speaker: Grant Keddie

Spindle Whorls, Stinging Nettle and Fireweed

There is a lot of misunderstanding about the nature of Ethnological collections and how they relate to the archaeological record. What do we know about the archaeology of tools used in the processing of plant fibers that appear in the Ethnographic record? Grant will talk about various tools and some of his experiments in plant processing.

Grant Keddie has worked as a Curator of Archaeology at the Royal British Columbia Museum for the last 38 years.  He has a broad interest in the history of First Nations cultures of British Columbia, as well as the early history of European and Asiatic cultures in B.C.

During the last 42 years he has undertaken archaeological survey and excavation work in many parts of the province. His museum job involves all facets of research, public programs and public inquiries on the archaeology of British Columbia and the Pacific Rim. He has provided thousands of lectures and demonstrations to school children where he has put an emphasis on understanding the value and importance of the history of indigenous cultures.

Tool technology is one of Grant’s specialties.  He is well known for his popular public demonstrations and experiments in making and using stone and bone artifacts. He has butchered dead sea lions with stone tools and trained movie actors in the art of throwing and making weapons.

He has a particular interest in cultural diffusion and trade around the Pacific Rim; examining such questions as when did the first iron spread around the north Pacific Rim and how it was modified and used by First Nations?  He has long maintained an interest in the occurrence of Japanese ship wrecks on the Pacific Rim and the potential influence of Asian or Pacific Island cultures on those of the Eastern Pacific coast.  One of his many side interests includes the study of imported Chinese ceramic food containers used by the first Chinese immigrants to British Columbia.

One of his broader interests includes the revolution in the field of DNA analysis that is changing and broadening our understanding of human cultures and how they have populated the planet. He has had much of his own genome analysed in order to gain a more personal perspective on this subject.


ASBC Victoria Meeting, May 18, 2010. Speakers: Duncan McLaren and Brendan Gray

Seven Thousand Years of Occupation at the Ruskin Dam Site

duncan brendan photo

Excavations of the Ruskin Dam Site, located on the north side of the Fraser Valley, were conducted over four months in 2009 as part of a salvage project.  Our talk will discuss the significance of the major discoveries at the site including: the house features, quartz crystal tools, biface styles, woodworking technology, objects of personal adornment, and faunal remains which contain a high proportion of sturgeon bones.  Combined, the artifacts, radiocarbon dates, and site stratigraphy provide a unique opportunity for gaining a perspective on the long-term occupation of this strategically located archaeological site.

Duncan McLaren is the owner and operator of Cordillera Archaeology, an archaeological contracting firm based in Victoria, BC.  He also is an adjunct professor in the Department of Anthropology and the University of Victoria.

Brendan Gray is a consulting archaeologist based in Victoria. He has a B.A. in archaeology from S.F.U and an M.A. in Anthropology from the University of Victoria. His research interests include northwest coast archaeology and household archaeology.


ASBC Victoria Meeting, April 20, 2010. Speaker: Dr. Ann Stahl

Ritual & Metallurgy: Genealogies of Practice in Banda, Ghana


The goal of the Banda Research Project has been to investigate the dynamism of African village life in relation to shifting global connections ranging from the imposition of colonial rule at the end of the 19th century and extending to the early first millennium AD when Banda villagers participated in the Saharan trade. Our 2008 and 2009 field seasons at Ngre Kataa revealed extensive primary metal-working contexts dating to the period cal AD 1200-1400 where the site’s inhabitants produced copper alloy and iron objects. These metal-working features and deposits co-occur with a series of apparent shrine deposits. The evening’s presentation will explore the nature of these deposits, and share preliminary insights into the implications of our findings for our understanding of craft specialization and the genealogies of metallurgical practice in the Banda area.

Ann Stahl is Professor and Chair of the Anthropology Department at UVic. From 1988 to 2008 she was on the anthropology faculty at the State University of New York at Binghamton and prior to that taught at the Institute of Archaeology, University College, London (1985-88). She holds a PhD in Anthropology from UC Berkeley and an MA in Archaeology from the University of Calgary. She has published numerous book chapters and journal articles on her work in Banda in addition to a 2001 Cambridge University Press book entitled “Making History in Banda: Anthropological Perspectives on Africa’s Past.”  Her 2005 edited collection on African Archaeology published by Blackwell was awarded the 2006 ‘best book’ award by the Society for Africanist Archaeologists.


ASBC Victoria Meeting, March 16, 2010. Speaker: Genevieve von Petzinger (University of Victoria)

Making the Abstract Concrete: The Place of Geometric Signs in French Upper Paleolithic Cave Art

In Paleolithic cave art, geometric signs tend to outnumber figurative images and yet, they remain relatively understudied.  To address this gap in our knowledge, I compiled a digital catalogue of all known geometric signs found in parietal art in France, and then trended the results looking for patterns of continuity and change over time and space.  I focused on parietal art, as I could be certain of its provenance, and picked France as my region due to its abundance of decorated sites and its natural boundaries of water and mountain ranges.  The database is searchable by a variety of criteria such as sign category, method of production, date range, site type, geographical coordinates and region.  It is now being converted into an online resource.  To provide a visual dimension, it includes a selection of linked photographs and reproductions of the different signs.  In this thesis, I detail the chronological and regional patterning in sign type and frequency and the implications of these patterns for understanding where, when and why the making of these signs was meaningful to the Pleistocene peoples who created them.

Genevieve von Petzinger – Having been interested in the cognitive evolution of modern humans since her undergraduate days at the University of Victoria, Genevieve von Petzinger was finally able to explore this in more depth at the Master’s level.  Working with Dr April Nowell, again at the University of Victoria, she was able to pursue this interest, and received her MA in June 2009.  Using the geometric signs of Upper Paleolithic rock art, Genevieve discovered some very interesting information about these early examples of symbolic behaviour, and presented her findings at the Paleoanthropology Society meeting in Chicago, Illinois in April 2009.  This presentation was the catalyst for her research being featured as the Feb. 20th, 2010 cover story in New Scientist magazine.  This exposure then led to a strong media follow-up, which included an interview on the Discovery Channel, a feature in the Tuttoscienze supplemental of La Stampa in Italy, an article in the Globe and Mail, and a full page feature in the Vancouver Sun, as well many other popular press articles and radio interviews in French and English, both nationally and internationally.  While being slightly overwhelmed by all the attention, Genevieve has been very excited about the positive response, and is just thrilled that other people want to hear her talk about her favourite subject!


ASBC Victoria Meeting, February 16, 2010. Speaker: Darcy Mathews

The Powerful Dead: The Rocky Point Cemetery and Straits Salish Identity

Burial cairns and mounds are two types of pre-contact burial features in the Strait of Georgia region of south-western British Columbia.  More than a millennium ago, the Straits Salish people, an ethno-linguistic group centered on present day Victoria, constructed a cairn cemetery at the Rocky Point site.  Located 18 km southwest of present-day Victoria, this cemetery has over 300 cairns which occur in a variety of patterned shapes and sizes.  Analysis of cairn construction and the use of space within this cemetery suggests that there was a strategic use of both material culture and landscape in Salish mortuary ritual, simultaneously expressing individual, household and perhaps even village-wide group identity.  Underlying these statements of identity is the material expression of relationships between the living and the powerful dead, which were carefully navigated through the process of the funerary ritual, of which building cairns and mounds was but one part of a long-term process; a process that may have an antiquity of several thousand years.

Darcy Mathews is a PhD candidate at the University of Victoria.  Working with the Scia’New First Nation, his ongoing dissertation research focuses on the identification, preservation, and study of pre-contact burial cairn and mound cemeteries in the Strait of Georgia.


Victoria ASBC Meeting, January 19, 2010. Speaker: Rich Hutchings (University of British Columbia)

Watersheds and Coastal Archaeology: A Northwest Coast Perspective

The watershed or basin has been considered a primary unit of analysis for hydrologists, geologists, ecologists, human geographers, and historians.  On the Northwest Coast, the economic significance of riverine settlement has long been a central focus, yet it is only in the last decade that anthropologists have begun to contemplate the social, political and ideological implications of rivers, river edges, and, to a lesser degree, basins.  In this lecture, I will explore the concept of watersheds as a unit of analysis for archaeologists working on the Coast.  Specifically, I consider the notion of what I call ‘watershed identity’, the issue of territorial boundaries, and the social implications of changing basin landscapes.  Finally, these issues are highlighted in relation to the increasing threat of coastal erosion and its impact on maritime heritage, a concern for archaeologists and communities alike in this region.

Rich Hutchings was born and raised in Seattle, Washington.  Having trained and worked as a diver in the marine industry, Rich completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Idaho, Moscow.  He then undertook research in the area of alluvial and coastal geoarchaeology on the Nooksack River, earning his Master’s degree from Western Washington University, Bellingham in 2004.  Rich is currently pursuing Doctoral research at the University of British Columbia, looking at maritime cultural landscapes, coastal erosion, and marine heritage management in the Sechelt area.


Victoria ASBC Meeting, Nov. 17, 2009. Speaker: Jana Stefan

Preserving Polar History – The Conservation of Material Culture from the Early Exploration of Antarctica

At the turn of the 20th century, Antarctica was host to one of the last great races of geographic discovery, as explorers including Scott, Shackleton and Amundsen breached the shores of the frozen continent in search of the South Pole.  In addition to bringing with them thousands of pounds of provisions and personal belongings, each of these expeditions erected a large wooden hut to serve as winter living quarters and from which their sledging and scientific excursions were based.  Remarkably, several of these huts, as well as the thousands of artefacts in and around them, survive to this day.  A massive conservation project is currently underway to prevent these huts and their contents from being lost entirely to the ravages of the Antarctic environment.  This talk provides a first-hand account of the exceptional challenges involved in planning and executing the conservation and archaeological excavation of a site hampered by extreme inaccessibility and unparalleled environmental conditions.

Jana Stefan currently gets to scurry around behind the scenes at the Royal BC Museum each day in her role as Exhibit Arts Technician.  Trained as a conservator and art historian, she has previously worked in the conservation labs at not only that institution, but at museums, libraries and sites of historic and archaeological interest around the globe.  Most recently, she spent six months living in a tent in Antarctica as a conservator for the Antarctic Heritage Trust, helping to preserve the historic sites associated with the early explorers of that continent.


Victoria ASBC Meeting, October 20, 2009. Speaker: Nick Waber

A Demonstration of Microblade Manufacture and Hafting Techniques

Microblades are very sharp stone blades produced from a specially-prepared core.  They are an efficient use of material, and an exceptionally versatile and portable technology.  They were common throughout much of the prehistoric Northwest Coast, yet the use of microblades died out before the beginning of the late period.  Their makers and users employed a variety of manufacture and hafting strategies.  We will demonstrate and discuss a few of these methods, addressing practical advantages and drawbacks from a first-person perspective.  There will be opportunities for some of those in attendance to try their hands at producing microblades!

Nick Waber is a first year graduate student at the University of Victoria.  He specializes in lithic technology, experimental archaeology, and Northwest Coast archaeology.  His current research involves replication and experimental studies with microblades.


Victoria ASBC Meeting, September 15, 2009. Speaker: Ila Willerton

Subsistence at the Willows Beach Site and the Culture History of Southeastern Vancouver Island

Culture types in Pacific Northwest archaeology are characteristic artifact assemblages that often distinguish different prehistoric periods. Artifact assemblages indicate a culture type transition occurred during the 2,630 BP–270 BP occupation of Willows Beach (DcRt-10), a shell midden in Oak Bay, Greater Victoria. Faunal remains from this long-occupied site reveal links to subsistence patterns, following Dale Croes’s theory that culture type change reflects subsistence intensification over time. Five DcRt-10 faunal assemblages were analysed, and those of stratigraphic units associated with the later Gulf of Georgia and earlier Locarno Beach culture types were compared. The youngest assemblage contains a smaller proportion of land mammal bone, suggesting increased sea mammal, fish, and bird procurement. The remains also suggest a greater variety of taxa exploited over time. These results hint that culture type change is linked to subsistence change, shedding light on the nature of culture types and the culture historic sequence of this region.

Ila Willerton is an Anthropology student with a keen interest in Northwest Coast archaeology. She completed her Bachelor of Arts at the University of Victoria in 2007, and recently defended her Master of Arts thesis at UVic as well. Her area of specialization is zooarchaeology and the relationship between diet and cultural change. The subject of this talk will be Ila’s recent M.A. work on faunal bones from the Willows Beach site in Oak Bay.


Victoria ASBC Meeting, May 19, 2009. Speaker: Jon Hall

Pointing It Out: Fluted Projectile Point Distributions and Early Human Populations in Saskatchewan

This study investigates early Paleo-Indian expansion into Saskatchewan as reflected by the distribution of fluted projectile points, and comparing it to Late Pleistocene/Early Holocene environmental changes.  It consists of a geographic distribution analysis, using an assemblage consisting solely of fluted point surface finds.

An initial study of Saskatchewan’s fluted projectile points, conducted in 1966 by Tom Kehoe, made use of information from the then known database, consisting of a mere 36 artifacts.  The current study examines the modern database of 78 specimens, and discusses the distributions of the three separate types of fluted points found in Saskatchewan and the validity of applying terms to them (Clovis, Folsom, and Northwestern) derived outside the province.

Not only does Saskatchewan’s assemblage reflect distributional differences between each fluted point type as a result of late Pleistocene/early Holocene environmental changes, but it shows typological similarities to assemblages elsewhere and changes in a time-progressive manner.

Jon Hall writes: “I am a local consulting archaeologist with three years of archaeological experience in British Columbia. My archaeological experience prior to this consisted of several archaeological excavations and research projects in Saskatchewan as part of the Study of Cultural Adaptation in the Prairie Ecozone. I completed my Bachelor of Arts degree in 2004 through the University of Saskatchewan and have recently completed my Master of Arts degree through Simon Fraser University. The relatively warm winters on the coast have softened me, prohibiting me from returning to the prairies, but I have and will always maintain an interest in the early prehistory of the Great Plains culture are, specifically the Northern Plains.”


Victoria ASBC Meeting, April 21, 2009. Speaker: Dr. April Nowell

Through the stones we reach the shore: Studies of a Paleolithic marsh in Jordan

The Levantine corridor is one of only two places in the world that was occupied either alternately or simultaneously by Neandertals and modern humans (approximately 50,000 to 100,000 years ago). In order to understand why Neandertals went extinct in this region we are studying their settlement patterns in relation to local climatic variation, their subsistence strategies and technological knowledge. In other words, to understand why they died we must understand how they lived. In this presentation Dr. Nowell will detail the preliminary findings and research directions of the Druze Marsh Paleolithic project in Jordan. She will also briefly discuss the applied component of her work with managers of two local animal and nature reserves to document the complex relationships that existed in the Pleistocene between animals, humans and water in this fragile oasis ecosystem.

April Nowell is an associate professor of Anthropology at UVic, where she teaches graduate and undergraduate classes in Paleolithic archaeology, archaeological theory, human paleontology and Paleolithic art. She did her undergraduate degree at McGill University in Anthropology (honours), and her PhD in Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania with Harold Dibble. Her dissertation was The Archaeology of Intelligence: A Study of Symmetry and Standardization in Lithic Artifacts and Their Implications for the Evolution of Human Intelligence. Her research interests are in the origins of language, art, symbol use and the emergence of the modern mind.


Victoria ASBC Meeting, March 25, 2009. Speaker: Stefan Schmitt

War Crimes Investigation: The Role of Forensic Archaeology

Since the 1980s the International Forensic Program of Physicians for Human Rights has been dedicated to providing independent forensic expertise for the documenting and collecting of evidence of human rights violations throughout the world.

Exhumation projects have become increasingly more complex, from exhuming single individuals from cemeteries, to the work done on mass graves in Latin America and those in the former Yugoslavia and in Rwanda.  Such forensic operations are faced with temporal, spatial and jurisdictional challenges which impact the way forensic scientists approach such projects.

Archaeological techniques and methods are essential in addressing everything from search methods, establishing the “minimum number of individuals” present in sets of remains, to enabling identification of remains in forensic contexts.  However, the legal mandate requires that disciplines such as archaeology adapt to the limits and protocols imposed by law enforcement and the judicial system.  These impacts may affect search and collection strategies, as well as the analysis of remains and artifacts in the laboratory.

International cases will be presented to illustrate how forensic work documenting human rights violations has influenced archaeologists in the field to expand their traditional methodological approaches to include the surviving victims as an aspect of their work.

Stefan Schmitt is the director of the International Forensic Program of Physicians for Human Rights.  He was born and raised in Germany, and received his undergraduate degree in Archaeology from the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala.  In 1992 Schmitt helped set the foundation for an independent non-governmental forensic team documenting mass graves in Guatemala with the help of Dr. Clyde Snow and the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team.  In 1995, based on the team’s forensic work, and prior to the Guatemalan truth commission, the team published the first in-depth analysis of the violence suffered by several communities in the Department of Baja Verapaz.

His latest publications include a chapter entitled “Mass Graves and the Collection of Forensic Evidence: Genocide, War Crimes, and Crimes Against Humanity” in Taphonomy: the Postmortem Fate of Human Remains (edited by Marcella Sorg and William D. Haglund) and “Law Enforcement Responses to Human Trafficking” in Florida Responds to Human Trafficking, (editors: Terry Coonan and Robin Thompson).


Victoria ASBC Meeting, February 17, 2009. Speaker: Brenda Clarke

Cops, Coroners, Bodies and Bones: Anthropology and the B.C. Coroners Service

The application of anthropology and archaeology to medico-legal death investigation has risen to prominence over the past 20 years.  This presentation offers an overview of what happens in British Columbia when skeletal remains are found and enter the medico-legal system. What is the role of an anthropologist or archaeologist who doesn’t have psychic powers or a hologram machine like our television counterparts. Since all too often these remains are from an archaeological context, new initiatives by the BC Coroners Service regarding found human remains will be discussed.

Brenda Clark has an M.A. from Memorial University and teaches anthropology at Camosun College.  She has acted as a consultant to the BC Coroners Service on Vancouver Island for 10 years. Her interest in raising public awareness about archaeology in the province led to her co-editing Victoria Underfoot: Excavating a City’s Secrets.  The book has been nominated for a Monday Magazine “M” Award for Favourite Non-fiction Book, so get online and vote at


ASBC Victoria Meeting, January 20, 2009. Speaker: Morley Eldridge

Recent Finds at Williston Reservoir in Northern B.C.

Archaeological work by Millennia Research Limited in the Williston Reservoir in 2009 recovered hundreds of artifacts and over 200 new archaeological sites were recorded.  The fieldwork took place on a remarkable landscape, the nearly billiard-table level surface of ancient glacial lakes, dissected by small drainages.  Scattered on this surface, and re-exposed because overlaying soils have washed away, are the artifacts from the entire late Pleistocene and Holocene periods.  Included are artifacts that appear to be made with Clovis-diagnostic technology, including very large blades and blade cores, points, and a Clovis point preform.  Also present are artifacts spanning almost all the paleoindian period as defined on the Great Plains; Agate Basin, Hell Gap, Alberta, Cody Complex, and late paleoindian complexes.  Besides points, other artifacts diagnostic of the paleoindian period such as burins and spurred scrapers were found.  Although paleoindian period artifacts formed the majority of the finds, the archaic or middle period, late precontact, and historic period artifacts of the Tsay Keh Dene were also present.

These artifacts were collected with precise provenience, allowing a study of the cultural landscapes from different periods, and spatial analyses of artifact distribution by time, by function, and by association with landform features.   A number of very interesting observations were made.

Morley Eldridge is the president of Millennia Research Limited, a Victoria archaeological consulting company.   2009 marks his 40th anniversary of doing archaeology in BC and his 41st field year.  Morley’s special interests are predictive archaeological modeling and remote sensing (particularly with LiDAR data), wet sites and basketry, archaeological data management, and (especially now!) paleoindian remains in northwest America.

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