Tsleil-Waututh/SFU Port Moody Field School
Summer 2015

During the summer of 2015 the department offered a local archaeological field school run in partnership with the Tsleil-Waututh Nation. Twenty-one participants, including twenty SFU undergraduate students and one student from the Tsleil-Waututh community, spent four weeks on the SFU Burnaby campus engaged in lectures, exercises, assignments, and readings in preparation for eight weeks of archaeological fieldwork followed by one week of laboratory work. The field school was run by Dr Robert Muir and Chelsey Armstrong (SFU PhD Candidate) who were generously assisted by members of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation’s heritage resource management team. The fieldwork component began with a week of ‘salvage archaeology’ – screening sediment and recovering artifacts from a previously disturbed archaeological site (the Locarno Beach Site). This provided students with excellent training in the identification of artifacts and animal bones commonly found at archaeological sites in British Columbia. This was followed by archaeological inventory and excavation of sites along the shoreline of Moody Arm (Port Moody) as well as a botanical inventory of native and invasive plant species of the Port Moody/Noons Creek estuary. The field project resulted in the discovery of several previously unrecorded archaeological sites and perhaps even more significantly the reinstatement of two sites that had previously been struck from the BC Provincial Inventory due to a lack of conclusive evidence of human occupation. Excavations of one site, at the mouth of Noons Creek, also revealed that what had previously been documented as a disturbed shell midden site actually contained intact deposits representing a 2200 year old house floor and associated slab lined hearth. In addition to fieldwork, the students also spent three days touring archaeological sites in the southern British Columbia interior and participated in a guided canoe tour of several locations within Burrard Inlet and Indian Arm lead by members of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation. Many of the field school students documented their experiences in an online wordpress blog, which can be found here: https://intothefield2015.wordpress.com./

Robert Muir