Western Canadian Archaeology

Saturday, May 5, 2018 - 1:30pm to 3:30pm
Terrace East
01:30 PM: Forest Gardens in British Columbia
  • Chelsey Geralda Armstrong - National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institute
Globally, archaeological sites are associated with plant communities that reflect both the ecological and cultural legacies of a landscape where people introduced, managed, consumed, and disposed of important plants. This paper introduces the concept of “forest gardens” as anthropogenically altered ecosystems that continue to grow at large archaeological village settlements in British Columbia. Forest gardens are the legacies of Indigenous management systems that are composed of fruit and nut trees and shrubs, and herbaceous medicinal and root food plants. Using historical-ecological methods and collaborative approaches, forest gardens are presented as important food and medicine stores in the past. Furthermore, they continue to provide a suite of ecological services and functions in present.
01:50 PM: Laframboise’s Coulee?: Exploring the Métis cultural experience in the Cypress Hills though historical archaeology at the Chimney Coulee site
  • Eric Tebby - University of Alberta
The 1870s bore witness to major migrations of Métis families into areas surrounding the Cypress Hills along the last bison frontier. One such area was at the Chimney Coulee Site (DjOe-6), now a designated Provincial Historic Site approximately six kilometers north of Eastend, Saskatchewan. The history surrounding the site has been mainly concerned with the Euro-Canadian narrative regarding the temporary occupation of Hudson’s Bay Company trader Isaac Cowie in 1871-1872 and later the North West Mounted Police in the late 1870s and early 1880s. Widely accepted historically, a significant Métis hivernant (wintering) presence existed at this site during the 1870s and early 1880s. Previous excavations in the 1990s focused on the activities of Isaac Cowie, while the Métis narrative remained largely unknown. Historical archaeology has greatly aided in renewed investigations into the Métis experience at Chimney Coulee.  Excavations conducted in summer 2017 on a cabin feature at this site revealed artifacts which strongly resemble the cultural footprint of other hivernant sites in the Canadian West. Discoveries include various 19th century ceramics, coloured glass seed beads, and domestic artifacts alongside other unique finds. An exquisite piece of beaded garment was also successfully recovered. Contextualizing the site to other hivernant sites around the Cypress Hills from a historical perspective has revealed numerous inaccuracies regarding the demographics of this site and principal occupation. New data surrounding a Métis presence and history in this area has greatly expanded our knowledge of this site and woven together the families and individuals with the material remains.
02:10 PM: Craigsford Complex; New finds from West Central Manitoba.
  • Gary Wowchuk - Mountain Quota Holders Association
Archaeological investigations began at the Craigsford locality in 1965 when a local avocational archaeologist Ed Dobbyn contacted members of the Lake Agassiz Survey and reported finding quantities of lithic debitage, pre-contact pottery and faunal material that had been exposed during the construction of a cement bridge across the Swan River east of Bowsman Manitoba. Archaeological investigations conducted at the Craigsford locality then and at various times since have resulted in the collection of a large amount of data which was used to define the Craigsford Complex (Identifying New Late-Woodland Ceramic Traditions in The Swan Valley, Western Manitoba. By Syms, Dedi, Wowchuk, Speirs, Broadhurst Manitoba Archaeological Journal Vol. 24, No. 1 & 2, 2014.). Since then two new sites, the Klatt and Peyton sites, containing artifact assemblages consistent with that of the “Craigsford Complex” have come to light.
02:30 PM: A Comparison of the 2017 Excavations of Two Bison Kill Areas at the Junction Site (DkPi-2)
  • Janet Blakey - Lifeways of Canada
  • Brian Vivian - Lifeways of Canada
Excavations at the Junction Site (DkPi-2), located in southern Alberta, have revealed a large and geographically complex site with repeated occupations taking place over the last 1000 years. Lifeways of Canada recently undertook excavations at two of the bison kill areas identified at the site. This presentation will focus on the results of these excavations and their importance in our understanding and interpretations of the site.  These excavations along with previous excavations at the Junction Site continue to expand our understanding of the significance of the Junction site as a location within the Blackfoot world of southern Alberta.
02:50 PM: Theft, Reciprocity and Material Entanglements of the Fur Trade at a Housepit Site in Central British Columbia
  • Paul Prince - MacEwan University
Fur Trader Daniel Williams Harmon reported in his journal that he was robbed at Fraser Lake Post in 1811.  He retrieved his articles, with the help of informants, from some people living nearby in a pithouse, but gave little consideration to the motives of anyone involved.  To Harmon the incident seemed merely to be expected of a “Rascal”, and to have been mediated by his more rational peers who feared the trader’s threats of punishment.  Two hundred years later, my excavations in a housepit near to this post have yielded a small assemblage of lithics, bone and fur trade goods.  I explore the assemblage and historical records here for an understanding of the motives and expectations of those engaged in fur trade relationships and interactions, like the events described by Harmon, and the role that material objects may have played.  I argue the introduced objects themselves cannot be understood as either simply functionally advantageous, or prestigious, and they thus did not create relationships of dependency between Indigenous people and fur traders.  Instead, the artifacts encapsulated and enacted growing social and material entanglements rooted in principles of reciprocity, even when not recognized by the European traders.
03:10 PM: The distribution of Surface Collected Early Pre Contact Diagnostic Material from West Central Manitoba
  • Gary Wowchuk - Mountain Quota Holders Association
A large sample of Early pre-contact diagnostic stone tools has been recovered through surface collecting in the west central region of Manitoba by both avocational and professional archaeologists over the last 50 years. This material consists of artifacts sharing diagnostics traits consistent with fluted/basely thinned points, Goshen, Agate Basin, Cody Complex and late generalized lanceolate points manufactured form both local and non-local lithic materials. The area provides us with a unique opportunity to compare the distribution of various early projectile point styles with a series of the fossil beach deposits formed by glacial Lake Agassiz. Of special interest are the Upper and Lower Campbell strandlines, which can easily be traced through the whole study area and used as a relative dating method. The resulting distributions of these diagnostic types confirm earlier observations showing fluted/basely thinned, Goshen and Cody Complex material occurring above these higher Lake Agassiz beach levels whereas the distribution of Agate Basin/ generalized lanceolate points might not be quite as clear calling for us to be more careful in assigning undated late Paleo-Indian projectile points in this part of the northern plains.