The Tsiigehnjik Ethnoarchaeology Project: Excavations at Martin Zheh
Publication Type:Conference Paper
Source:Whitehorse, Yukon (1999)
Since its inception in 1992, the Gwich'in Social and Cultural Institute has worked to 'document, preserve and promote the practice of Gwich'in culture, language, traditional knowledge, and values.' Excavations at Martin Zheh brought these elements together at a multi-component site on the banks of the Tsiigehnjik (Arctic Red River), a major tributary of the lower Mackenzie River. Here, Gwichya Gwich'in Elders and youth came together as partners in heritage conservation, sharing traditional knowledge and archaeological discovery. Five occupation layers at MeTp-4 span the past two centuries, a significant period in Gwichya Gwich'in history which saw the introduction of trading posts, firearms, missions, disease, and, eventually, permanent communities. This paper provides an overview of the archaeology of MeTp-4 and examines some of the temporal changes in traditional and Euro-Canadian artifacts and faunal assemblages, in historical context.