Simon Fraser University Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology

Preserved Artifacts

When archaeologists first started digging in 1992 and 1993 they found a waterlogged site. This was a really lucky find, because waterlogged sites actually preserve organic material. You might think this sounds strange, after all, we know that things rot faster in wet environments. But in places where there is water year-round, oxygen can't get in, so the bacteria that would normally like a moist environment, but still need air to survive, can't get to the objects.

The remains that were found there were pretty amazing. They consisted of woven pieces of basket, a fish-hook made of wood and a knife with a wooden handle. It's very rare to find things made out of wood of other plant materials because these things decay quickly under most conditions. This is unfortunate, because such artefacts can tell us a lot about the different kinds of technology that people had in the past. Also, because different groups of people tended to use distinct designs and weaving techniques for their baskets, we can learn about the cultural association of the basket maker.