Simon Fraser University
Sto:lo Nation
University of British Columbia
1998 DhRl 16 Field School

Notes from the field, June 10, 1998

Welcome to our field school! We are a 26 archaeology students from SFU and UBC, excavating a site on the Fraser River, in the Upper Fraser Valley in British Columbia, Canada. We are learning from  Sto:lo elders, graduate students and university faculty about the people who lived in this region over a thousand years ago, and how best to gather archaeological information about these people. To find more about the site and our research, follow us through the summer and come by for next week's report!

This year, the DhRl16 project has 2 goals. One is to examine the relationships between the cemetery and the village components of the site, both through time and space. The other goal is to look at the houses within the village and examine the differences within and between the houses.
Last year, field school students found a hard-packed surface about 20 cm below the ground. We want to know if this is a house floor or something else. We are testing by excavating, right now we are clearing away all the dirt on this hard packed surface. 
Instead of tombstones, the Sto:lo people who lived at this site in ancient times buried their dead under cairns of stones. Some people were buried under cairns which were then covered with a large mound of earth.  

If we find cairns of stones we will know this is a cemetery. If we find firepits, hearths of fire reddened earth, fire cracked rock or packed earth benches, we will know the area was once a house. 

In another part of the site we are digging small test pits. We are testing to see if there are more ancient houses or another part of the ancient cemetery in these parts of the site. 

All the dirt we excavate is sifted through a screen. Fine particles of dirt fall through the screen, where samples are taken to find seeds or other indications of what the people who lived here ate. Larger objects stay in the screen, where we examine them quickly. Fire cracked rock is weighed. Any tools like scrapers, points or adze blades are put in level bags for later study. This is pretty exciting, but we don't find tools very often.
  Blanca Gonzalez, Tamara Logan, Manya Buchan

AT DhRl 16 !

Written by Blanca Gonzalez, Tamara Logan and Manya Buchan. Web design and a wee bit of editing by Barbara Winter.