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17 July 2007
Canadian students find ancient tool-making camp

Students at the University of Northern B.C. have discovered more than 200 prehistoric artifacts at a protected archeological site at Beaverley, about 30 km west of Prince George (British Columbia, Canada). The group, which has been digging for the past month, will now try to figure out who was making the tools, and when. The dig, near the confluence of the Nechako and Chilako rivers, marks the first time a university-led archeological dig has been conducted in the northern Interior in more than 30 years.  UNBC Prof. Farid Rahemtulla said the area, which was protected three years ago, remains 'virtually unknown' to archeologists, most of whom focus their digs on the coast or in the southern Interior.
     The dig uncovered several remnants of projectile points, suggesting the first nations people used the site to craft tools while collecting game and berries. The people then likely moved on to a new spot when the raw material resources had dried up, Rahemtulla said. The flakes are from various materials including dacite, which is common in the Interior, along with chert, usually found in limestone, and obsidian or volcanic glass, which isn't normally found in the area. Obsidian, which has been traced to Anahim Lake but has also been found on the coast, dates back 10,000 years. To find the flakes, the students had to peel the mossy top off the ground and carefully scrape the soil with their trowels.
     Rahemtulla said it's difficult to estimate the date of the artifacts, but it's likely between 400 and several thousands years old. The archeologists have mapped out all the sites in B.C. where the materials can be found.
Rahemtulla said the next step is to establish a cultural chronology for this area and to get lab tests done on a radial carbon sample as well as soil sediment. "It's really a wild card on this one until we get more information," he said. The students will continue working with the Lheidli T'enneh and Nazko first nations to research the area. "One of the things we're trying to combine is the the traditional knowledge and archeological knowledge," he said. The artifacts are expected to be displayed within the next few weeks.

Source: The Vancouver Sun (11 July 2007)

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