2000 North Shore Archaeology Field School

During June and July of 2000, the SFU field school conducted archaeological survey and excavation on the North Shore. The fieldwork was part of a larger collaborative project with the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation, whose traditional territory includes Indian Arm and Burrard Inlet. The field school team was led by Dana Lepofsky and Monica Karpiak, and included 10 SFU students, 3 UBC students (who enrolled in SFU for the summer), and two Tsleil- Waututh First Nation community members.

We had three main goals for the project: 1) to educate the public about archaeology and Tsleil-Waututh history; 2) to teach the students to work with communities; and 3) to teach the students archaeological survey and excavation methods. The majority of the summer was spent excavating the "Strathcona Park site" located on a small, protected bay in Deep Cove. We worked in the portion of the site which is situated on a neighbourhood park. It was ideally suited for public outreach. A Tsleil-Waututh community member and a member of our crew gave tours of our site to hundreds of school children and other visitors. We produced artifact teaching kits, pamphlets, and posters that the Tsleil-Waututh will continue to use in their outreach programs throughout the year. Funding for the public education component of the project came from Heritage Trust and Global Forest.

Little was known about the Strathcona Park site prior to our work there. Our excavations revealed three major occupations – a settlement dating to about 3000 years ago, a summer village dating to about 300 years ago, and an historic logging camp, dating to sometime in the early 20th century. Our mapping of the site suggest it is probably one of the largest archaeological sites on Indian Arm and Burrard Inlet. The analysis of the material from the site is on-going, but a range of tools, plant, animal, and shell remains were recovered.

Our archaeological surveys were largely limited to the current Tsleil-Waututh Reserve. We revisited previously recorded sites along Burrard Inlet, but were disappointed to see that much of the sites have eroded away as a result of recent barge traffic. Similarities in stone tool materials found on the Reserve and at the Strathcona Park site may indicate an economic connection between the two areas.

Dana Lepofsky