Today’s picture comes from the Ahai Mneh site on the shores of Lake Wabamun, west of Edmonton, AB. This archaeological site has a long history of human occupation, from earliest hints of people in Alberta using Clovis technology, right up to the Late Precontact and Historic Periods. Featured here is a Scottsbluff point, made of classic Alberta quartzite. This projectile point type is part of the Cody Complex, which was present across North America between 9 000 and 7 000 years ago. Point such as this one are famously associated with large communal kills, where the hunters dispatched dozens of giant Ice Age bison in natural and built traps.
From 1979 to 1990 Dr. Raymond Le Blanc conducted archaeological surveys and excavations in the Lesser Slave Lake region, first as a member of the Archaeological Survey of Alberta, and later with an archaeological field school with the University of Alberta. These projects are one of the largest archaeological bodies of work in Alberta’s boreal forest outside of the oilsands region. The Mercury paper published from them,
“Archaeological Research in the Lesser Slave Lake Region”, is one of very few monographs on northern Alberta prehistory.
Since 1990, nearly all archaeological research in the region has been conducted under Cultural Resource Management projects, primarily for the forestry sector. These projects have focused our interest away from the lakeshore into the uplands and hinterlands of the region. We have identified hundreds of new archaeological sites in these hinterlands, giving us new perspectives on land-use patterns and settlement systems, long-distance trade, and regional travel and trade networks.
I’m going to be sharing my thoughts on these sites at the 2016 Canadian Archaeological Assocation conference in Whitehorse Yukon this May, in a special session in Honour of my graduate supervisor, Dr. LeBlanc. I hope to see some of you there. If you can’t make it, watch this site for the full paper.
I attended the Environmental Services Association of Alberta regulatory forum in Edmonton on January 11th, 2016 with Mike Toffan, our Reclamation Coordinator. None of the regulatory updates dealt directly with Historical Resources Act concerns, but our work often occurs in the broader environmental regulation context, so it’s good to have a general understanding of things like the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act and the Environmental Site Assessment Standards. The presentations by Gordon Dinwoodie and Brian Lambert of Alberta Environment and Parks were of particular interest to me. Throughout Brian Lambert’s overview of the updated standards on Environmental Site Assessment (ESA), I was struck by the parallels between Environmental Site Assessment and Historical Resources Impact Assessment (HRIA).
Today’s picture comes from the Ahai Mneh site on the shores of Lake Wabamun, west of Edmonton, AB. This archaeological site has a long history of human occupation, from earliest hints of people in Alberta using Clovis technology, right up to the Late Precontact and Historic Periods. Featured here is a Late Precontact side-notched arrowhead, made of a fine-grained black siltstone, that likely dates between 1000 to 300 years ago.
Today’s artifact is an endscraper, a tool used to remove the flesh and hair from an animal hide. The person who made this tool took a small pebble, split it in half, and then chipped fine flakes off the one end to create a steeply beveled edge. The stone blade would then be attached to a handle, and dragged across a stretched hide to scrape the unwanted flesh and hair away. This artifact was found at the Quarry of the Ancestors site near Fort McMurray, and is made of a high quality chert.
Featured picture this week is a bifacial knife, with fine retouch along the right margin to create a sharp edge. This knife is made from Knife River Flint, a stone material that can only be found in North Dakota, USA. Today’s artifact was found 70 years ago in Manitoba, Canada.
The Borden System is used to provide each archaeological site in Canada with a unique identifier, called a Borden Number. These identifiers consist of two parts – four letters (formatted AaBb) and a number separated by a dash. The letters represent the Borden block which is the geographical location of the site and the number indicates the sequence when it was identified.
The Borden System was invented by Charles E. Borden with the help of Wilson Duff in 1952 at the University of British Columbia. Charles E. Borden is sometimes referred to as the “grandfather of British Columbia archaeology” despite not having a background in archaeology. He was born in New York City in 1905 and then moved to Germany as an infant where he lived until at 22 he discovered that he was an American citizen. He returned to the United States and went to university in California to study German literature. Continue reading “What is a Borden Number?”