Alessandria Testani

B.A.: Major in Archaeology, honours program, SFU 2017

Others Credentials: Cultural Resource Management certificate, SFU 2017

Supervisor: Dr. Jon Driver

Committee: Dr. Dana Lepofsky        

Research Areas: Zooarchaeology, Ethnobiology, Traditional Ecological Knowledge


Investigating the relationship between animals, plants, and humans has been my lifelong passion. As a young child I spent my time in the back woods of British Columbia hunting, fishing and camping. When I was not following my parents through deer trails in the forest, I was gardening with my grandparents on their small subsistence farm. Spending my life immersed in nature has brought me to a deep interest in the study of animal remains as they relate to humans and the environment.

Research Interest:

My research interests lie in studying physical animal remains themselves, as well as the importance of animals within cultural and ecological systems. Through zooarchaeological and ethnographic studies, I hope to bring a greater understanding of the relationship between humans and their environment.

M.A. Research:

For my M.A. research, I will be conducting a zooarchaeological analysis of animal remains from the site of Tse’K’wa (formerly known as Charlie Lake Cave). Tse’K’wa is an archaeological site in the Peace River Valley, located in Northeastern British Columbia. The oldest part of the site dates to over 12,000 years before present (cal BP), one of the oldest records of interactions between humans and the environment in Canada. While the earlier layers of the site have been examined in depth, the most recent 5,000 years of occupation have been left mostly unexamined. In my MA research, I will focus on the identification and quantification of animal remains to examine the cultural and ecological record of Northern BC. By examining the animal bones left by people at Tse'K'wa the hunting and fishing practices of the ancestral Dene people, as well as the ecology of the Peace River Valley can be examined in detail over thousands of years. Working in collaboration with the Treaty 8 First Nations, the information gathered on animal bones will hopefully be tied together with interviews pertaining to the Traditional Ecological Knowledge of this region. Indigenous Knowledge pertaining to the ecological landscape, from the presence and movement of animals, to the cultural practices surrounding them will be incorporated into this study with permission from the Treaty 8 First Nations.

Other Activities:

My experiences in archaeology range from my first volunteer position where I catalogued lithics at the SFU Museum of Ethnography and Archaeology, to working as a zooarchaeologist in a consulting firm. I have done fieldwork along the coast of BC, from the rivers feeding into Comox harbour in the territory of the K’ómoks First Nation and Northern Coast Salish, to fieldwork for the Gitga’at First Nation near Prince Rupert. I have analysed zooarchaeological collections from all over BC, from elk on Vancouver Island, clams on Quadra Island, to seals on the coastal mainland.




2017a (Testani, Alessandria) Zooarchaeological Analysis of a Site on Waiatt Bay in Quadra Island. Presented at the 1st Annual Environment Research Talks. Simon Fraser University. March 9, 2017. Burnaby, British Columbia.

2017b (Testani, Alessandria) The Effects of Clam Gardens on Ancient Subsistence Practices on Quadra Island: A Zooarchaeological Analysis. Presented at the Annual Clam Garden Network Meeting. Simon Fraser University. April 21, 2017. Vancouver, British Columbia.

Technical Reports:    

2017a (Testani, Alessandria) Excavation Notes: Excavation of Oldtown Site. Manuscript submitted to Jacob Earnshaw for the Oldtown project, Simon Fraser University. Burnaby, British Columbia.

2017b (Testani, Alessandria) Technical notes: Faunal Remains Recovered from DgRs-2, Turtlehead site and continued excavation of DgRr-1. Manuscript submitted to Arrowstone Archaeological Research and Consulting Ltd. Port Moody, British Columbia.

2016a (Testani, Alessandria) Technical notes: Faunal Remains Recovered from DgRr-1 and DgRs-7. Manuscript submitted to Arrowstone Archaeological Research and Consulting Ltd. Port Moody, British Columbia.

2016b (Testani, Alessandria) Primary Report of the Analysis of site EbSh-87. Manuscript submitted to Natasha Salter for the Quadra Island Clam Garden Archaeology and Ecology Project 2016 Fieldwork and Laboratory Report. Hakai Institute. Heriot Bay, British Columbia. p.16-17.


Alessandria in the preparation lab at SFU, examining sclerochoronological slides created for her honours thesis (supervisor: Dr. Dana Lepofsky). Photo credit: Ginevra Toniello


Photo taken on the 2016 SFU Fieldschool on K’ómoks First Nation reserve land. Alessandria Testani on the far left. Photo credit: Vivek Mustafa

Alessandria presenting the progress of her honours research at the 2017 Environment Research Talks at SFU, Burnaby

Alessandria and her grandfather, Ernesto Testani (right), hiking in Lynn Canyon. Photo credit: Danica Testani


Alessandria at the World Forestry Centre in Portland, Oregon