2007 Archaeological Field School in the Harrison Watershed (Fraser Valley)

The Department of Archaeology is offering an archaeological field school in the Harrison Watershed (Fraser Valley) from May 7 to August 3, 2007. The month of May will be spent in the classroom learning the basics of archaeological mapping and field techniques (Arch 433 and 434). Dr. Dana Lepofsky will be the instructor for this portion of the course. This is followed by a two-month field practicum, in the central Fraser Valley, taught by Dana Lepofsky (Arch 435) and assisted by graduate students Morgan Ritchie and Chris Springer. During this time participants will be living in a camp and an apartment complex near one of our excavation sites.

The field practicum will be integrated into a larger inter-disciplinary research project whose goal is to explore shifting interactions and changing social identities among the Stó:lo, a Coast Salish group residing in the Fraser Valley in southwestern British Columbia. The focus of our previous work has been on houses and settlements along the Fraser River. The summer 2007 field school will focused on the Harrison watershed—the home of the Chehalis people. It is one of the few remaining areas of the larger Fraser watershed which is largely unknown archaeologically.

During the summer 2007 field season, students will be assisting the two main components of the project: excavation of one pithouse, and mapping and testing of several large settlements along the Harrison River. The pithouse to be excavated is located along the beautiful Chehalis River. Our goal is to excavate at least half of the structure, with a particular goal of recovering elements that might tell us about house design (e.g., patterning in post holes, benches, etc.) and house function (patterning in plant, animal, or lithic remains). In the survey portion of the project, students will develop survey methods, feature recognition and total station mapping. The primary objectives of this project are to create detailed GIS maps of the prehistoric settlements and to obtain radiocarbon samples to establish a regional chronology of housepit structures.