M.A. Theses: John David McMurdo, 1974

The Archaeology of Helen Point, Mayne Island

This thesis consists of an extensive examination and description of prehistoric and historic cultural materials recovered during archaeological investigations at Helen Point on Mayne Island, British Columbia. The excavations, which were conducted by the British Columbia Provincial Museum in 1968, had as their primary objective the salvage of cultural information from a midden which at the time was endangered by erosive tidal action. Analysis of the recovered data indicated that there had been three discrete and temporally sequential occupations of the site in pre-historic times. While many traits were shared by these cultural units, each could be readily distinguished by traits which were either unique to the unit or chiefly confined to the unit. In chronological order from earliest to latest, these units were named respectively; Helen Point Ib, Helen Point II, and Helen Point III. When compared to similarly conceived units at other archaeological sites, it was found that each of these components could be considered manifestations of previously described and documented prehistoric cultures in the Gulf of Georgia Region. Helen Point Ib exhibited an admixture of traits from two previously isolated phases, the Mayne phase and the Locarno Beach phase. Helen Point II was found to be most closely related to components of the Marpole phase, while Helen Point III was comparable to components of the Stselax and San Juan phases.

While precise dating of the three components has not been established, comparison with similar dated assemblages suggests the following relative chronology: Helen Point Ib, 1300-800 B.C.; Helen Point II, 100 B.C. - A.D. 300; and Helen Point III, A.D. 1200-1400. These ranges roughly estimate the earliest probable date of occupation for each of the components.

The descriptive analysis of these components should prove to be invaluable as a informative base upon which further research in the region can be planned and directed.