2015 Tsleil-Waututh/SFU Port Moody Field School

The 2015 Tsleil-Waututh/SFU Port Moody Field School

During the summer of 2015 the department offered

a local archaeological field school run in

partnership with the Tsleil-Waututh Nation.

Twenty-one participants, including twenty SFU

undergraduate students and one student from the

Tsleil-Waututh community, spent four weeks on the

SFU Burnaby campus engaged in lectures,

exercises, assignments, and readings in preparation

for eight weeks of archaeological fieldwork

followed by one week of laboratory work. The

field school was run by Dr Robert Muir and

Chelsey Armstrong (SFU PhD Candidate) who

were generously assisted by members of the Tsleil-

Waututh Nation’s heritage resource management

team. The fieldwork component began with a week

of ‘salvage archaeology’ – screening sediment and

recovering artifacts from a previously disturbed

archaeological site (the Locarno Beach Site). This

provided students with excellent training in the

identification of artifacts and animal bones

commonly found at archaeological sites in British

Columbia. This was followed by archaeological

inventory and excavation of sites along the

shoreline of Moody Arm (Port Moody) as well as a

botanical inventory of native and invasive plant

species of the Port Moody/Noons Creek estuary.

The field project resulted in the discovery of several

previously unrecorded archaeological sites and

perhaps even more significantly the reinstatement

of two sites that had previously been struck from

the BC Provincial Inventory due to a lack of

conclusive evidence of human occupation.

Excavations of one site, at the mouth of Noons

Creek, also revealed that what had previously been

documented as a disturbed shell midden site

actually contained intact deposits representing a

2200 year old house floor and associated slab lined


In addition to fieldwork, the students also spent

three days touring archaeological sites in the

southern British Columbia interior and participated

in a guided canoe tour of several locations within

Burrard Inlet and Indian Arm lead by members of

the Tsleil-Waututh Nation. Many of the field

school students documented their experiences in an

online wordpress blog, which can be found here:


Robert Muir



Slab lined hearth, within 2200 year old house floor