November 21 2013
Speaker: Rhy McMillan
Topic: Time, Stratigraphy, and Taphonomy: Assessing the chronological homogeneity of osseous assemblages from sedimentary complex 3, Scladina Cave, Belgium
Often, the objective of paleoanthropological and archaeological investigation is to further understand the cultural, behavioural, and biological evolution of humans and their predecessors through time.
Therefore, a critical facet of this type of analysis is a high level of control over the spatial and temporal aspects of the assemblages studied. The most economical way to temporally associate objects is through the documentation of their sedimentary context; however, with issues such as stratigraphic resolution, complex sedimentary structures, and the effects of erosion and the resulting reworking of material into superimposing layers, there is potential for the association of anachronistic remains during excavation.Through the use of geoarchaeology, a project was undertaken at Scladina Cave in Belgium that established a method to be used in the assessment of the chronological homogeneity of osseous assemblages after they have been excavated, and their sedimentary contexts have been destroyed. This project involved the reconstruction of stratigraphy by the observation of the taphonomic signatures of bone, and was able to strongly suggest a more precise sedimentary context for over 15,000 osseous objects. It is highly recommended that this method is applied before the analysis or interpretation of an osseous assemblage takes place.
February 11, 2011
Speaker: Richard Somerset Mackie, freelance historian and biographer living in Vancouver (rsmackie.com)
Topic: Historical Archaeology: Space for the Past: History, Archives, and Archaeology on Vancouver Island
In this illustrated talk, Richard Mackie shared his experiences on Vancouver Island as a historian, archaeologist, archival scholar, and historical geographer with a consistent interest in salvaging and preserving the past.
Two of his books, Trading Beyond the Mountains (1997) and Island Timber (2000), won the Lieutenant- Governor's Prize, and Island Timber was short-listed for the Haig-Brown Prize in 2001. His most recent book, Mountain Timber (2009), was on the BC Bestseller list for 32 weeks.
Mackie is now working on a personal memoir set in the 1970s, a biography of Comox environmentalist Melda Buchanan, and the third in his series of logging and social history books for Sono Nis, Pacific Timber.
October 8, 2010
SPEAKER: Mary Rossi
Topic: Preventing Archaeological Disasters and Facilitating Cultural Resource Protection: One Nonprofit’s Attempt to Plug CRM Gaps in the U.S.
Presented by the Archaeological Society of BC – Nanaimo Branch
Despite legislation at the federal, state, local, and tribal levels that is intended to protect cultural resources from unintended destruction during development, so-called “archaeological disasters” continue to occur throughout the United States. Two particularly high-profile disasters have occurred in Washington State, first in 1999 on the Semiahmoo Spit in Blaine and again in 2003 in Port Angeles.
After witnessing the significant negative impacts on all the communities affected by the Semiahmoo disaster and subsequently struggling to apply the legislative matrix to protect cultural resources, Mary Rossi co-founded a nonprofit program, APT-Applied Preservation Technologies, in an effort to prevent archaeological disasters through effective collaboration, planning, and education.
Initially, APT secured traditional cultural resource management (CRM) contracts, including the coordination of pre-project archaeological assessments triggered, in many instances, by the legislative matrix. However, after several years of engaging in the CRM system, APT has identified a number of areas critical to the system’s success yet often under-addressed: policy planning, legislative advocacy, and education/training. Join APT in a discussion about how such gaps can be plugged and how the same might be done in British Columbia.
Speaker: Mary Rossi currently serves as Program Director for APT-Applied Preservation Technologies, a program of the Bellingham-based nonprofit Eppard Vision. As Program Director, Mary provides cultural resource consulting services and educational programming to a wide range of clients, including tribal communities, government agencies, engineers, developers, and cultural resource professionals. Mary has fifteen years of cultural resource planning experience, including six years as an employee of the Lummi Nation, first as an Archaeological Field Crew Supervisor on the Semiahmah Recovery Effort and then as the tribe’s first Tribal Historic Preservation Officer (THPO). Mary received a Master’s Degree in Anthropology from Western Washington University in 1998.
April 8, 2010
SPEAKER: Brian Vivian, Lifeways of Canada Limited
Topic: History Beneath Our Feet: Archaeology in Down Town Calgary
East Village is the name of an urban renewal project for that portion of downtown Calgary which lies east of City Hall, between 3rd Street and 6th Street East. Located in direct proximity to Fort Calgary, this area is associated with the earliest historic settlement of Calgary and is considered an area of high archaeological potential.
During much of 2008 the East Village was a focus of one of the largest urban archaeology projects undertaken in Alberta to date. Lifeways of Canada staff was successful in identifying intact historic and prehistoric sites buried beneath the streets of down town Calgary. Analysis of the precontact finds provide insights into cultural adaptations to the Bow Valley over 3000 years ago, while the historic sites identified highlight changing economic consumption patterns during the early decades of the last century. This research has resulted in a more textured vision of the early years of Calgary during the economic boom prior to 1914. These conclusions highlight the value in the archaeological study of 19th and 20th century sites in understanding the Western Canadian History during this early historic era.
This lecture has implications for discussions about BC historic archaeology. Lack of protection for pioneer heritage is becoming a critical issue especially in fast growing regions of Western Canada. This talk will illustrate the value of historic protection, how it can be streamlined into current heritage work and will provoke dialogue about the current system in place in BC and ideas for change.
May 8th, 2009
SPEAKER: Celia Nord
Topic: Investigating Gender and Mortuary Variability in the Pre-contact Archaeology of the Canadian Plateau
Until recently, southern interior British Columbia archaeological research has concentrated primarily upon the investigation of housepit village sites from the last 4,000 years (Nicholas 1997:90). This has restricted our understanding of the development and range of pre-contact lifeways to a narrow window of time and a limited view of social, political and economic organization of small-scale societies. While several recent studies hint at a greater range of past behaviour, especially in terms of “complexity” (e.g., Prentiss and Kuijt 2004), the numerous unpublished reports by British Columbia consulting archaeologists often give only generalized views of Plateau societies.
Within the field of consulting archaeology (and even within academia), it is not uncommon for a previous precedence to be used without question and for reports to be recycled as templates. This ensures, that if there is a lack of references to women in the archaeological reports, that this data will be recycled unchallenged. This disparity needs to be addressed, particularly in terms of subjects not previously researched in the Canadian Plateau, such as gender. Fortunately, in recent years, there has been an increase in the use of gender archaeological theory (e.g., Nelson and Rosen-Avalon 2002) and feminist anthropological theory (e.g., Ackerman 2003) within the discipline. However, the representation and visibility of women in the past, especially in the Canadian Plateau region, still suffers from serious neglect, resulting in an incomplete and skewed understanding of the nature of Plateau society over time.
My MA thesis research focuses on issues surrounding the archaeological visibility of precontact Canadian Plateau women, in part through a study of gender and artifact relationships reflected within mortuary variability. An overview of pre-contact Plateau archaeological and ethnographic investigations that concentrate on the Canadian Plateau provides a background within which to anchor the results of a gender and mortuary variability study. Ultimately, this research will contribute towards a fuller, more complete archaeological depiction of the lives of both women and men in the past within the precontact Canadian Plateau.
May 15th 2009:
SPEAKER: Ken Porteous graduated in 2007 from Vancouver Island University with a major in Anthropology and a minor in Geology. He is an authority on the paleontology of Vancouver Island and has found over 70 new taxa of fossil invertebrates over the past fifteen years. In addition, he is an experienced flintknapper with research interests in lithics, hominid cognitive evolution and hominid dispersal out of Africa. Ken spent five weeks working at a Neanderthal site at Scladina Grotto, Belgium during the summer of 2007.
Topic: For more than a century paleoanthropologists attempted to unravel the story of hominid evolution and dispersal with only a few scraps of bone and a pile of stone tools. With scant evidence they were able to discern five species of our genus Homo, a remarkable feat little changed, and four species of the genus Australopithecus tracing our evolution back at least 3.7 million years. Approximately 30 years ago the pace of discovery began to change, slowly at first but with increasing acceleration to the present. The results of this wave of discovery are the addition of three new genera, one established genus divided into two adding a fourth new genus and the addition of 11 new species. Hominid evolution, which was once represented by the scraps of a few dozen individuals, is now represented by scraps and nearly complete examples of hundreds of individuals pushing our knowledge of hominid evolution back 6 - 7 million years. This presentation will introduce you to the amazing story, more interesting than we could ever had hoped, of our hominid family and the tools they made.
March 13th 2009
SPEAKER: Morgan Ritchie is a graduate student of Dana Lepofsky’s at Simon Fraser University. Morgan has conducted excavations across the Americas from the Yukon to Ecuador to Georgia, but is pursuing his interests on the Harrison River in southwest British Columbia. Working closely with the Chehalis people since 2005, Morgan has had the privilege to be involved with all the recent excavations, interviews and surveys in Chehalis Traditional territory. Morgan is currently enjoying the process of writing his M.A thesis, and looks forward to continuing his studies.
Topic: Chehalis villages
In this paper on the Chehalis Indians who live in the Harrison River Valley in south-western B.C, I want the archaeological record to speak for itself. In contrast to most ethnographic and ethno-historic studies on Coast Salish social and political organization, I believe that the archaeological evidence on the Harrison River demonstrates political and social influence extended beyond the immediate family group to encompass multiple villages in the pre-contact period. In an effort to allow the archaeological to record speak for itself, a primary concern of this paper will be to present a detailed settlement distribution, design and arrangement as a means to study social organization and continuity on the Chehalis landscape through both time and space. The number of villages and houses and their spatial proximity is the primary basis for my conclusions. The stretch of the Harrison River from Morris Creek to the Chehalis River is the focus of this research and the location of the majority of the Chehalis villages. Abundant with archaeological sites that span at least the last 1,600 years, evidence for the antiquity and continuity of settlements and practices on the Harrison River comes from the remains of pithouses, plankhouses, mortuary complexes, cache-pits, fishing and hunting locations and ritual use areas. Using GIS analysis I will also establish the size of living areas in each village to establish populations.
February 13 2009
SPEAKER: Jennifer Ramsay
Topic: Plants, People and Landscapes: An Archaeobotanical Look at the Environment and its Implications in the Ancient Near East
The ancient Near East was a multi-cultural environment in which peoples of different ethnic affiliations interacted daily across regionally diverse landscapes. To develop an understanding of this diversity we must carefully examine the natural economy and environment that existed in the area, inclusive of native and non-native population groups and how these relationships varied regionally. The analysis of archaeological plant remains examines taxon diversity, evidence of trade and intensity of agriculture which is used as a primary indicator of the socio-economic systems that existed at classical sites. This presentation will provide an introduction to archaeobotany and its applications in the field of environmental archaeology by looking at the sites of Caesarea Maritima, Khirbet Qana, Humayma and Petra as examples.
January 9th 2008
SPEAKER: Nick Doe
Despite the great interest in the petroglyphs of Gabriola Island, they have seldom been the subject of investigation by the anthropological and archaeological communities. In part, this has been because they cannot be dated, either absolutely, or by association with near-by depositional layers. Nick Doe, who is an engineer (now retired), lives on Gabriola. In this lecture, he will be describing the results of his studies over several years of the design of petroglyphs at a few remote sites loosely associated with the well-known Boulton and Church sites. His work looks at the astronomical ties between the petroglyphs, as well as their geographical orientation (east, west, north , south)and orientations defined by fractures in the sandstone. Nick is also an avid student of the geology of the island, and brings a geologist's perspective to the problem of dating them, and to the reasons as to why they are so rapidly eroding. After the lecture, there will be a roundtable discussion of Nick's work.
March 9, 2007
SPEAKER: Darcy Mathews
Topic: Burial Cairns and the Mortuary Landscape of Rocky Point, British Columbia
My ongoing research is an investigation into burial cairns and mounds, a type of interment built by the Salish people of the Strait of Georgia a more than a millennium before the establishment of Fort Victoria. These burials, consisting of rock and soil built up over the dead, once numbered in the thousands in Greater Victoria. Although there was a flurry of study by archaeologists in the late 19th century from prestigious institutions such as the American Museum of Natural History, these burials are still relatively unexplored and unknown. Recent archaeological investigations in Metchosin, southwest of Victoria, have resulted in the identification of many archaeological sites with burial cairns and mounds. The largest of these, the Rocky Point site, has over 300 cairns and mounds, which consist of patterned piles of rock and soil, and occur in a variety of shapes and sizes. Based on the analysis of this site, the Rocky Point cairns are analogous to historic and modern grave markers, presumably meant to denote something of the identity of the deceased. Like contemporary cemeteries, which are partitioned along social, ethnic, and economic lines, the manner in which cairns and mounds were built and placed on the Rocky Point landscape may amount to a similar statement of the identity of the deceased and their place in society. By studying the external attributes of these burials without disturbing them, and where they were placed relative to other burials and the landscape, may allow a unique insight into the social lives of the Salish people more than a thousand years ago. It is hoped that this work will highlight the long and extraordinary social history of the Salish people and the importance of protecting these threatened archaeological site
February 9, 2007
SPEAKER: Gay Frederick, Department of Anthropology, Malaspina University College
Topic: Precontact Nuu-chah-nulth Resource use in Barkley Sound, west coast Vancouver Island.
Excavations at the village locations from which the Tseshaht and Huu-ay-aht peoples derive their names, Ts'ishaa and Huu7ii respectively, have provided faunal samples allowing us to reconstruct resource use in this area of Barkley Sound over the past 5000 years. Considerable change is recorded in patterns of site use and resource activities over this time period. Excavations were directed by Alan McMillan and Denis St. Claire, on behalf of theTseshaht and Huu-ay-aht Nations.
January 19th, 2006
SPEAKER: Deidre Cullon'd
Topic: Hamatla Treaty Society Foreshore and Archaeological Management Training and Research Project
The Hamatla Treaty Society (HTS) is a group of four First Nations on north-central Vancouver Island who are working together toward treaty. In the summer of 2006, the HTS obtained funding to conduct archaeological fieldwork on fish traps and clam gardens (loxiwe) within their territory. Previously, a few, primarily stone fish traps, had been recorded in rivers and creeks, and at Comox Harbour, numerous, large wooden stake traps were gaining wide recognition. Other than this, little was known about the location and density of fish traps in HTS lands. The same was true for clam gardens. Much inventory work had been done in the Broughton Archipelago, but only a small pocket of Quadra Island had been surveyed within HTS territory. The HTS was certain there were more traps and gardens waiting to be recorded. We were right. The research indicates that fish traps and clam gardens, of varying shape and size, are numerous throughout HTS territory. This discussion will present the results of our inventory work, including the results of radiocarbon dating completed on fish trap stakes, and some preliminary thoughts about what this data means for the HTS and for the archaeological record.
November 10, 2006
SPEAKER: Cheryl Roy
Topic: Digging Stratigraphy
Discovered in 1971, Scladina Cave is one of the major Middle Palaeolithic sites of Belgium. The cave is situated on the south side of the Meuse River above the village of Sclayn. Excavations at the site commenced in 1978. The project continues today under the direction of the chief archaelogist, Dominique Bonjean. Scladina Cave is the only site in Belgium excavated on a year round basis. In October 2003, a re-evaluation of the cave's stratigraphy was undertaken by Stephane Pirson, a geologist from the Royal Institute of Natural Sciences in Brussels. Since that time, a microstratigraphic method of excavation has been employed. In the words of Nicolas Rolland (2006; personal communication) Scladina Cave is becoming a model excavation site.
This presentation will discuss the value of the microstratigraphic approach and the logistics of microstratigraphic excavation. In addition, the results of this excavation strategy will be correlated to ongoing research at Scladina
October 13, 2006
SPEAKER: Camilla Speller, Department of Archaeology, Simon Fraser University
Topic: Ancient DNA and the Pithouses of Keatley Creek
This study of the prehistoric pithouse village of Keatley Creek, BC, used ancient DNA techniques to examine the species of Pacific salmon consumed at the site. Previous archaeological work had suggested that economic stratification within the community might have resulted in differential access to some preferred salmon species, such as sockeye and chinook, however these species could not be identified using visual analysis alone. The unambiguous ancient DNA species identification method now makes it possible to more accurately address the issue of early salmon consumption in the region. This study analyzed 60 salmon remains from four housepits in order to identify any species differences among salmon remains found within the structure. Although high success rates (over 90%) were obtained for ancient DNA tests, only three salmon species (chinook, sockeye and coho) were identified from the remains. Pink salmon was not identified among the tested sample, despite the fact that it was originally assumed to be a staple species for the site’s native inhabitants. The absence of pink salmon in our sample significantly altered the picture of early salmon fishing activities in the region. As a result, the effects of economic stratification on differential access to the remaining so-called preferred species of sockeye and chinook within the four structures studied were not as dramatic as previously thought, although access to different sized salmon may characterize some structures.
Camilla Speller is a graduate student in the Archaeology Department Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, BC. She received her BA in Archaeology and Physical Anthropology from the University of Calgary. Her MA research, completed in May 2005, was focused on ancient DNA analysis of salmon remains from an archaeological site on the Northwest Plateau. Her PhD research interests continue to be focused on ancient DNA analysis of archaeological faunal remains to study past subsistence strategies.
October 10, 2007
Topic: Labrets of the Northwest Coast
Ms. LaSalle will be discussing her comprehensive research using typological analysis to consider how the varying scales of social identity were expressed through personal ornamentation over time in this region. She will share how this research began, progressed, and why her conclusions may contribute both to an understanding of archaeology heritage in this region, as well as how the role of body ornamentation in social life is conceived of today.
November 14th 2007
SPEAKER: Chris Springe,
Topic: Tracking Identity in a Harrison River Watershed Pithouse
Houses were fundamental to cultural expression among Coast Salish groups in the lower Fraser River watershed and its tributaries. The construction and continued maintenance of houses were material reflections of a household's social identity. The complete excavation of a small, isolated pithouse in the Harrison River Valley, British Columbia, the traditional territory of the Chehalis People, showed two main occupations spanning approximately 300 years, suggesting a long-term connection to place. The forms and contents of the successive structures combined with insights gained from oral history and ethnographies allow for tentative interpretations of the occupants’ identities and their connection to the Chehalis people of today. The archaeological record of this one site exemplifies both the fluid nature of cultural identity and the continuous relationship to place rooted in Chehalis oral traditions.