2004 SFU-SCES Kamloops Archaeology Field School

The 11th Simon Fraser University-Secwepemc Cultural Education Society Archaeology Field School took place in Kamloops in May and June. Eighteen students participated, representing the Kamloops and Burnaby campuses, as well as Okanagan University College, Langara College, and several community members from the North Thompson Indian Band. In addition to the 14-credit hours of regular courses, students had the option of obtaining the provincial RISC certification in Archaeology.

Students received instruction and field experience in archaeological survey and testing, and laboratory analysis. Field work was augmented by several field trips and by a weekly seminar in Plateau Prehistory, Environmental History, and Ethnography.

The primary aspect of the field school was a second season of intensive excavation at EeRb 77, a very deep, multi-component site on the Kamloops Indian Reserve along the South Thompson River. We have previously demonstrated that the occupation of this site ranges from the historic period to at least 6,500 radiocarbon years before present, and possibly much older. Our focus here continues to be the pre-4,000 B.P. levels of the site.

Teams of students excavated seven 2-m2 units to a maximum depth of 3.5 meters. The results of excavation provided much additional information on the occupation of this site, although it became clear that the units completed this year appear to represent a more peripheral part of the site than excavated in 2002. Fewer artifacts and faunal remains were recovered, and there was no trace of the extensive freshwater shell midden that was encountered in 2002. Nonetheless, the information recovered in 2004 is valuable for reconstructing the long cultural and environmental history of this location, and also provides a very important point of comparison for comparably aged Middle Period sites that we have excavated on the nearby river terraces in previous years.

Since its inception, the Kamloops Archaeology Field School has addressed the cultural resource management needs of the Kamloops Indian Band and other First Nations, worked to extend knowledge of past land-use practices in the region, and provided classroom and field training for First Nations and non-Aboriginal students. Graduates of this program are currently working for various First Nations organizations and consulting archaeologists.

George Nicholas