2002 SCES-SFU Archaeology Field School, Kamloops

This year marked the 10th anniversary of the Simon Fraser University- Secwepemc Education Institute Field School, with 26 students enrolled from the Kamloops and Burnaby campuses, and from Okanagan University College, University of Northern British Columbia, Langara College, and the University of Victoria. In addition to the 14 credit-hours, RIC certifi cation was included.

Our work continued a study of longterm land-use patterns in the Interior Plateau that has been underway since 1991. Excavations this year were not on the glaciolacustrine terraces on the Kamloops Indian Reserve, where most of our work has been conducted, but rather in the nearby Secwepemc Heritage Park. The park is situated on a large archaeo logical site, EeRb–77, the most visible portion of which is the cluster of house-pit depressions that mark a late prehistoric village site. Our investigations were directed to the earlier occupations there—in 1991, deep testing by the first SCES-SFU Archaeology Field School revealed very deeply buried oc cupations to the northeast. That testing demon strated a cultural record extending to at least 3 meters below the ground surface. Charcoal from depth from the 2.5 meter occupation level produced a radiocarbon date of 6,000 years before present, with earlier but undated material below that.

The primary goal of this year’s excavations in the Heritage Park was to excavate this deep and very old portion of the site. To accomplish this, an area of 6 by 16 meters was taken down to 70 cm by backhoe and shovel, and individual 2 m2 units were then excavated to a depth of 3 meters. A large, freshwater shellfish midden was uncovered in one portion of the site, which appears to date to within the last 3,000 years. A wide variety of Late and Middle Period stone and bone artifacts were recovered from the site, and well as thousands of tool production flakes, tens of thousands of mussel shells, and numerous faunal remains. Human remains were also found, and were excavated at the request of the Kamloops Band.

This excavation will hopefully reveal new data and insights on middle and early Holocene archaeology in the area, and provide new insights into the devel opment of later Secwepemc land-use patterns. In particular, this year’s work also allows us to compare directly the archaeological records of the 6,000 year (and older) terrace site occu pations, which we have excavated in previous years, with those of comparable age from the riverside site.

George Nicholas