22 October 2016 | Vancouver, BC

BROWSE ALL the 2016 BCAF Abstracts:


History, Archaeology, and Community Engagement at Lamalchi Bay, Penelakut Island, by Chris Arnett, Colin Grier, Andrew Martindale

Lamalchi Bay on Penelakut Island in southwestern British Columbia was the site of a dramatic conflict between Salish villagers and a Royal Navy gunboat on April 20, 1863. Two weeks later the village was burned to the ground by Colonial forces and six to eight families dispersed. We report on recent archaeological investigations that focus both on the historic battle and the long record of pre-contact Salish village life in the bay. Metal detection equipment has located naval ordinance from a shell midden rifle pit at the entrance to the bay corroborating historical accounts. Surface survey, GPR, percussion coring, and radiocarbon dating suggests that a plankhouse village has existed at the head of the bay since at least Marpole times. We highlight the community-based collaboration behind this project, and how archaeological and historical documentation can provide a strong basis for redressing colonial actions against sovereign First Nations.


 Occupy Archaeology, by Joanne Hammond

The most urgent problems facing BC heritage management aren’t solving themselves: we need YOU. This is an introduction to activist practice in BC archaeology: why we need it, how it can work, and what you can do to contribute. I use the idea of a ‘republic of archaeology’ to frame the relationships between each of archaeology’s primary constituencies: First Nations, professionals, regulatory players, and the public. I’ll discuss how the changing political and economic landscape presents us with an opportunity – and an obligation – to step up and help shape the future of this discipline. I’ll suggest some big-picture solutions to the problems that cut across these different groups, and examples of small-scale ways we can contribute to a more engaged, effective, and equitable heritage sector. I’ll solicit your help and support to better define the problems and priorities of BC archaeology.


Wet-Site Archaeology Under Threat, by Kathryn Bernick

British Columbia is fortunate to have numerous wet sites with waterlogged wood artifacts that can elucidate a wide range of scientific questions ant that also comprise cultural objects significant to First Nations. Drainage of water-saturated land compromises these materials, which underscores the importance of those that still survive. Archaeologists are recovering waterlogged artifacts (and ecofacts) at an accelerating rate, but often the objects are severely damaged by backhoes and at risk of decay through dehydration. I suspect that many more are unearthed from wet deposits but never noticed since not all land alteration is monitored by archaeologists who know what to look for. Forum participants are invited to discuss whether we, BC archaeologists, should adopt proactive measured to curb impacts to waterlogged cultural remains: what are some realistic remedies that would benefit both researchers and First Nations?


Digging Relationship Building: The c’əc’əwixaʔ project, by Brenda Gould, Mike Allison

This presentation will illustrate the inaugurations of a multi-year collaborative relationship and research project between UBC’s Museum of Anthropology and Laboratory of Archaeology, the French Consulate, the Upper Similkameen Indian Band, and the Allison family. This relationship brings together First Nation community members, University faculty and students, and international scholars focusing on a rock art site located on the Chuchuwayha Indian Reserve near Hedley in south-central British Columbia. This research will meet the needs of field archaeology by providing several levels of scholarly data aiding in future interpretations of the archaeology in the Similkameen region of south-central BC. This project is aiming to serve the community members by providing hands on experience and training in scholarly excavation, analysis and documentation. The end result of this project will showcase the community as well as the site to the general public and world at large through exhibitions as well as documentary films.


Moving Forward – Addressing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Eleven Strategies through the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation’s Creation of the New Position of Archaeologist, by Geordie Howe


The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) identified eleven strategies which address the principles contained in a total of 28 of the TRC’s 94 Calls to Action. In order to address certain aspects of the eleven strategies, the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation (Park Board) created a new staff position, that of archaeologist. Reporting directly to the Manager of Park Development, the Park Board archaeologist works to support a range of park development and operations processes and projects throughout the park system, in archaeologically sensitive areas. The primary goal is to work collaboratively with the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations for the protection, preservation, and management of archaeological sites within Vancouver Parks. This paper will discuss the mandate, direction, and preliminary goals for the Park Board archaeologist.


Ancestral Remains: Communication within Policy, by Kody Huard

In British Columbia, when those who study the human past encounter the physical remains of past humans, it can be profoundly difficult to determine how to proceed. The modern archaeologist must take into account the disparate interests of clients, science, and First Nations, all while considering limitations imposed by time and financial resources. This is not a new problem, and has long been met in the consulting world with the installation of policies guiding researchers on specific steps regarding how to excavate, handle, transport, and analyze remains. These policies have recently grown to include a better consideration of descendant communities, but still tend to focus on providing a prescriptive, methodological template. This gives the individual researcher more autonomy in the field, but seems to reduce the amount of communication required with First Nations. It is the purpose of this presentation to explore the benefits of policies that treat each encounter with ancestral remains as unique, addressing them on a case-by-case basis.  This is done in the hope of providing less prescription and more guidance to communication.


A Grieving Mother and a Turkey Vulture: An Examination of the Gap Between Archaeological Interpretations and Indigenous Forms of Knowledge of Two shíshálh Stone Sculptures, by Kenzie Jessome

Through an examination of two stone sculptures discovered in shíshálh Lands, this paper proposes that only through a combination of archaeological methods and indigenous forms of knowledge (oral history and ethnography) can we attempt to gain an understanding of the purpose and meaning of ancient shíshálh art forms. Specifically, this research takes aim at previous interpretations of the “Sechelt Image” (shíshálh stone figure discovered in 1921), and critically evaluates the interpretation offered by the academic community. Through the dissection of the early interpretations of the “Sechelt Image,” I offer a more comprehensive interpretation of a newly discovered sculpture that incorporates indigenous forms of knowledge. Through these new and old examples, I expose that only through incorporating indigenous epistemologies can we attain a basic understanding of the nature and purpose of these ancient, precious, and rare art forms.


The Pentlatch Pebbles: SFU/K’omoks 2016 Fieldschool Investigations, Courtenay, British Columbia, by Robert J. Muir

Excavations at the K’omoks village site at Pentlatch resulted in the discovery of a variety of unusual and unexpected finds. Perhaps the most notable were over 120 incised pebbles and small cobbles. Some of these artifacts are very difficult to distinguish from unmodified pebbles, but we believe they are an artifact type that archaeologists working in the region need to be aware of and on the lookout for.


Unpacking some of the Secrets of Secret Cove: Recent Archaeological Discoveries from Secret Cove, British Columbia, by Derek O’Neill

Recent archaeological impact assessments (AIA) have resulted in documenting several site types that are atypical for this region. Within one specific site both loose masonry proto-historic features and prehistoric cairn features were identified in addition to intact midden and surface and subsurface lithic scatters. My aim is to generate discussion among the academic, consulting, and First Nation communities regarding heritage site types on the Sunshine coast.


Investigating Variation in Late Holocene (3,500 to 200 BP) Salmon Fisheries in the Fraser Basin through the Meta-Analysis of Ancient DNA Analyses of Salmon Remains, by Thomas C.A. Royle

Although archaeologists working in the Pacific Northwest have long emphasized the developmental and dietary importance of salmon, little is known about how salmon fisheries varied across the region. Most of the studies that have investigated this question have focused on documenting regional variation in the intensity of salmon fishing through stable isotope analyses of human remains or zooarchaeological data. Although these studies document inter-site variation in salmon fisheries, they only show how salmon fisheries varied in one regard: the relative amount of salmon caught. Since multiple salmon species inhabit the Pacific Northwest, salmon fisheries can vary not only in their intensity, but also in their taxonomic composition and structure. In this paper, I will explore how the taxonomic composition of salmon fisheries varied in the Fraser River Basin through the meta-analysis of aDNA analyses of archaeological salmon remains.


A Holistic Examination of Pictographs Within shíshálh Lands, by Jacob Salmen-Hartley

shíshálh Lands contain a large number of pictographs. 24% of pictograph sites within the Coast Salish region are found in this area. Thanks to the tireless efforts of the shíshálh to record and retain their oral history, there is a wealth of information about the approximately 50 recorded pictograph sites in the region. Pictographs can offer a view into aspects of past life which cannot be obtained from other archaeological sources. Using a few specific examples of pictographs located in shíshálh Lands, we will discuss our success using local history to add to the archaeological understanding of pictographs. We will consider our use of D-Stretch processing and how we have been able to use this technology in combination with oral history to reveal more about the evolving lives of pictographs over time. Finally, we will consider the presence of pictographs within the cultural resource management process.

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