2005 Fraser Valley Archaeology Field School

In the summer of 2005, the Simon Fraser University Archaeology Field School conducted an investigation of Sxxwiymelh (the Katz Site, DiRj 1) on Chawathil Reserve (Figure 1). Michael Lenert—a UCLA PhD student whose dissertation research focuses on Sxxwiymelh, and Dana Lepofsky (SFU) co-supervised the excavations. Our excavation team consisted of our T.A. Cam
Robertson, SFU (and sometimes UBC) students, Deanna Peters of Schkam First Nation, and Tim Peters Sr. of Chawathil First Nation.

The work at Sxwóxwiymelh was conducted under the auspices of the Fraser Valley Research Project—a multi-disciplinary research project exploring shifting interactions and changing social identities among the Stó:lo First Nation. Sxxwiymelh is of particular interest to our research because it is one of the oldest known multi-pithouse settlements in the Fraser Valley and based on discoveries of new house features by the 2005 field crew, it seems that Sxxwiymelh was one of the largest ancient villages in the Fraser Valley.

As is typical of other archaeology field classes at SFU, the 2005 students were exposed to a range of experiences. They excavated using a variety of techniques and surveyed throughout the site and elsewhere on the Reserve. Because the field class is nested within a larger research project, the students were faced with real research problems. This required daily discussion ("Grand Rounds" see photo) where we discussed and re-evaluated our methods vis a vis the project goals. In addition, the students worked closely with community members and helped organize several events where the community visited the site and learned about the project. The support from the Chawathil community was overwhelmingly positive.

Dana Lepofsky