2011 Sunshine Coast

Tla'amin-SFU Field School in Archaeology & Heritage Stewardship 2009 Season Report (pdf)

Tla'amin-SFU Field School in Archaeology & Heritage Stewardship 2008 Season Report & 2009 Prospectus (pdf)

Application form (pdf)

In June and July 2011, Simon Fraser University and Tla'Amin First Nation will embark on the fourth year of a collaborative heritage program focused on both the Tla'Amin Reserve on the Sunshine Coast and the Malaspina Complex, in the heart of Tla'Amin First Nation Territory (http://www.sliammontreaty.com/). While the Tla'Amin community has extensive oral knowledge about their history, this area is largely unknown from an archaeological perspective. The project creates an exceptional opportunity for bringing together oral traditions with information from archaeological and archival investigations.

The project will be conducted in the context of SFU's summer field school as well as elder and youth programs being conducted by the Tla'Amin. On the SFU side, the project will be directed by Bob Muir, Dana Lepofsky and John R. Welch. Together, Bob, Dana, and John have over 30 years of archaeological and other heritage experience working with and for First Nations communities, including 20 years spent directing field schools.

As community consultations concerning every aspect of the project will continue to unfold, the effort is being guided by commitments to people, place, learning, and capacity building. Our over-arching goals are:

Buffy Johnson using the TS at EaSe 18

Katie Hausch excavating at Cochrane (EaSe76)

  • To form a meaningful partnership between Tla'Amin First Nation and the Department of Archaeology, Simon Fraser University, and other partners.
  • To explore and enhance knowledge about Tla'Amin lands and heritage through archaeological site identification, documentation, and investigation.
  • To train Tla'Amin youth and SFU students in archaeology and heritage stewardship.
  • To increase awareness of and knowledge about Tla'Amin history both within the Tla'Amin community and in regional, academic, and resource management communities.
  • To encourage the exchange of heritage knowledge and experiences between Tla'Amin elders and Tla'Amin youth.
  • To advance to Tla'Amin goals of self-governance and self-determination.

We have planned an ambitious field season which will evolve around two main components:

  • Continued excavation of semi-subterranean structures at the Cochrane Bay site in Malaspina Inlet north of Powell River. Initial testing, excavation, and mapping of the site in 2009 and 2010 revealed that the site is roughly 4000 years old, but the semi-subterranean structures were likley built approximately 800 years ago. The testing also found that granite cobbles and slabs were used as architectural elements within the largest of the structures and one of the smaller ones at the site. The focus of this summer’s excavations at Cochrane will be on the two structures previously investigated and on artificially created flats adjacent to and in front of the depressions. The main goals will be: the mapping and documentation of features associated with structure design; mapping and collection of artifacts; collection of flotation samples for the recovery of botanical remains, bone fragments and microlithics; and the collection of additional radiocarbon samples. The Cochrane site will also be used as the field school base camp.
  • A mapping and testing program of archaeological sites in Desolation Sound. Over the past three field seasons (2008 - 2010), the Tla’amin-SFU Heritage and Archaeology Program has successfully located a large number of pre-recorded and unrecorded sites in Desolation Sound. The site types include major and minor residential settlements, refuges/lookouts, intertidal resource harvesting features (i.e., fish traps and clam gardens), and pictographs. This component will focus on the residential settlements and the intertidal resource harvesting features. Fieldwork will involve survey, mapping, coring, and testing a sample of large (~10-12,000 m2), medium (~5000 m2), and small (<1000 m2) residential sites and the associated intertidal harvesting features within the study area. Work will also include the collection of radiocarbon samples and artifactual data to determine site correlations, ages, and functions from earliest to most recent periods of use.

In addition to the above, our project always includes a significant amount of community outreach and education. In the past, this involved talking in elementary school classes, touring people of all ages around sites, hosting “Community Days” where people are invited to work with us in the field, and talking to the media.

Admission to the field school is by application to the Department of Archaeology. Students must meet the following prerequisites (or equivalents): Arch 131, 201, and one Group I course (Arch 372, 373, 376, 471). Admission is based upon a ranking of the applicants using four criteria: 1) cumulative grade point average; 2) total credits; 3) number of courses in archaeology; 4) references. Please note that we will be camping in a remote area and sometimes surveying through thickly forested or steep terrain. An information session will take place on Tuesday, January 25 from 1:30 – 2:30 in the Material Culture Lab (Room SWH 9084).  If you have any concerns about your abilities to participate in the field work or any other questions about the course, please contact Bob Muir (bmuir@sfu.ca). Application deadline is 7 March 2011. The admit list will be posted by student number at the Archaeology General Office by 21 March 2011.