The "Wild Archaeology" experience - a new form of Indigenous archaeology

February 14, 2018

By Diane Luckow

SFU archaeology professor Rudy Reimer spent last summer filming for season two of APTN’s television show, “Wild Archaeology.” It is the first documentary TV series to explore the archaeological record of Canada’s Indigenous peoples from their point of view.

“The show brings to life over 12,000 years of human history in Canada,” says Reimer, a member of the Squamish Nation, and a co-host of the show. “It conveys a culturally informed sense of the past that includes some really cool science and archaeology.”

The series also showcases how archaeologists are collaborating with local First Nations communities to discover and tell these ancient histories.

The first season of 13 episodes, which aired in 2016 and is now available online, explored Indigenous archaeology from coast to coast to coast. It took two summers to film, often in remote and hard-to-reach locations such as the Yukon, Newfoundland and Labrador, and the Arctic.  

The second season, which will continue to film this year and air in fall 2019, will examine how studying the ancient past is benefiting modern First Nations communities across the country, including some on B.C.’s Sunshine Coast, in northern B.C. and in northern Ontario.

“It features current, cutting-edge research in collaboration with First Nations peoples that will change how we understand the past,” says Reimer. Some of this research includes new discoveries related to ancient cultivation and agriculture, large-scale landscape modifications such as ancient terraforming, and new techniques such as micro CT scans of artifacts, and 3D printing of ancient materials.