2004 Fraser Valley Archaeology Field School

As is typical of SFU archaeological field schools, 2004 field school was divided into two major sections: an intensive in-class component in May, followed by a two-month field season in June and July in the Fraser Valley. The classroom component this year was co-taught by Dana Lepofsky and Bob Muir. During this portion of the class, the students learned a variety of mapping and basic surveying skills, as well as background material on the culture history of the Fraser Valley and the Coast Salish.

The field component of the field school was embedded in a larger research project, headed by Dana Lepofsky (see above). The field research was divided into there major components, all of which the students participated: the detailed mapping of five large village sites, the excavation of the protohistoric pithouse village of Welqamex, and the excavation of the McCallum site. Our field camp was based at the McCallum site, and at any given time, most of the students were working at that site. The excavations at the McCallum site were headed by Dana Lepofsky, with the superb assistance of Peter Locher, who was our teaching assistant, and Michael Lenert, a PhD student from UCLA.

Rotating through these three aspects of the larger project, the students learned a huge range of skills. All students became competent in using the total station to map the on-going excavations as well as the detailed contour maps of the five village sites. Students did a considerable amount of excavating (with everything from trowels to supervising backhoe excavations), took notes in a variety of contexts, and conducted a range of laboratory tasks from sorting to final cataloguing and photographing.

In addition to our excavation of the McCallum site, we ran an extensive public outreach programme. Thanks to Yvette John of Chawathl First Nation, and Amanda King, now a graduate student at SFU, over 700 people came through the site for tours. Visitors came from the neighbourhood and from much further afield and were from both First Nations and non-native communities. The students often helped Amanda and Yvette with the tours. In this way, and through the many informal gatherings with First Nations community members, the students came to understand the importance of doing "community archaeology".

Our field camp was a wonderful set up (see photo). We built a beautiful out-door kitchen, and had gravity feed, solar-heated showers. The kitchen was used for laboratory work as well, and of course, for the occasional party.

Dana Lepofsky