Glaciers brought mountain to man, study on B.C. First Nations tools finds

VANCOUVER -- First Nations in British Columbia were once believed to have travelled long distances to find prized volcanic rock for tools, but a new study of an ancient village suggests the mountain actually came to them.

See Full Article

Archeologist Colin Grier has been studying the Gulf Island village site at Dionisio Point on Galiano Island for almost two decades, but it wasn't until his team picked up a few dark stones on the beach that they began questioning the theory of travelling for stones to make tools.

The associate professor at Washington State University's anthropology department said the team tested the beach stones, the debris from stone toolmaking at the site and the volcanic rock from Mount Garibaldi over 100 kilometres away on British Columbia's mainland.

The chemical fingerprint matched.

Grier said the finding dispels the theory that the villagers went all the way to Mount Garibaldi between 600 and 1,500 years ago to get the stone for their tools. Instead, the rock came to their beach thousands of years before.

"It was picked right off the local beach, brought there by glaciers, conveniently, 12,000 years ago," he said.

Grier co-authored the study published in the September issue of the Journal of Archaeological Science.

It said the volcanic rock was difficult to fashion into a tool, but it kept a better edge and required less retouching during use compared with obsidian or chert, a silica rock.

"We conclude the high-quality tool stones were readily available in secondary glacial till deposits at the Dionisio Point locality," the study said.

Grier said the beach stones -- while not the highest quality -- made it much more possible for the villagers to be self-sufficient because the material for tools was easily accessible.

"You could go down to the local corner hardware store rather than having to pick up and pack the canoe up and head off to the Super WalMart on the mainland," he chuckled.

That didn't mean the First Nations did not travel at all. In fact, other studies showed they often trekked to other villages on Vancouver Island and the mainland, Grier said.

There is a lot of evidence that many island villagers went to the Fraser River to fish for salmon during the summer.

"The villages they were living in were likely inhabited through the winter, after they had dried all their salmon and bought it back," Grier said.

The Dionisio Point village, part of a protected provincial park and only accessible by boat, is considered one of the best preserved village sites on the entire B.C. coast.

"It's an amazing element of the archeological record of British Columbia and Canada, and really, of the world," said Grier, a Canadian who lives on Galiano when he's not working in Washington state.

The Gulf Islands sit right along the Canada-U.S. border between Vancouver Island and B.C.'s mainland.

Grier said the islands are a treasure trove of archeological sites with new discoveries taking place all the time, giving more hints about what ancient Coast Salish life was like hundreds of years ago.



Advertisements

Latest Tech & Science News

  • Virgin Galactic: Rocket reaches space again in test flight

    Tech & Science CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- Virgin Galactic's rocket plane reached space for a second time in a test flight over California on Friday, climbing higher and faster than before while also carrying a crewmember to evaluate the long-awaited passenger experience. Source
  • Report: Apps send sensitive user data to Facebook

    Tech & Science CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Several phone apps are sending sensitive user data to Facebook, including health information, without users' consent, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal. An analytics tool called "App Events" allows app developers to record user activity and report it back to Facebook, even if the user isn't on Facebook, according to the report . Source
  • Smile: Some airliners have cameras on seat-back screens

    Tech & Science CTV News
    Now there's one more place where cameras could start watching you -- from 30,000 feet. Newer seat-back entertainment systems on some airplanes operated by American Airlines and Singapore Airlines have cameras, and it's likely they are also on planes used by other carriers. Source
  • World's biggest bee spotted alive for the first time in decades

    Tech & Science CBC News
    A walnut-sized bee with a massive jaw and impressive wingspan has been spotted for the first time in nearly 38 years. Wallace's Giant Bee, known by the scientific name Megachile pluto, is the world's largest bee species — and now we know it actually still exists. Source
  • Pharmaceutical residues reach 'potentially damaging' levels in freshwater: study

    Tech & Science CTV News
    A new study out of the Netherlands indicates increased levels of pharmaceutical residue found in the world’s lakes and rivers has become “potentially damaging” to the environment. The study -- released Friday in the journal Environmental Research Letters -- examined the levels of the anti-epileptic drug carbamazepine and the antibiotic ciprofloxacin in fresh water and found the environmental risks of these drugs in the water were 10 to 20 times higher in 2015 compared to 20 years prior. Source
  • Regina FIFA eSports competitor warms up for $50K international tournament by crushing CBC reporter

    Tech & Science CBC News
    Every year tens of millions of people play FIFA, the world's biggest soccer video game. A 17-year-old from Regina is one of the very best. Alex Gonzalez-Aldana, who goes by the in-game handle ExraaCA, is in Atlanta this weekend to compete in a 64-person tournament with a $50,000 top prize. Source
  • Cyberspy agency says networks are protected as U.S issues Huawei warning

    Tech & Science CBC News
    Government and cyber security officials are insisting that Canada already has restrictions in place to protect sensitive information after a top Trump official warned that the U.S. won't share information with countries that use Huawei in their systems. Source
  • 'A real risk': U.S. warns allies against allowing Huawei in 5G networks

    Tech & Science CTV News
    U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is warning that “there’s a real risk” if his country’s allies allow Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei to participate in the development of their next-generation 5G mobile networks. “If a country adopts this and puts it in some of their critical information systems, we won't be able to share information with them,” Pompeo said in a Thursday interview with the Fox Business Network. Source
  • Want to help name a moon? You could name 5 of Jupiter's

    Tech & Science CBC News
    Last July, astronomers announced they'd found a treasure trove of 12 new moons around Jupiter. Now they're inviting the public to help name five of them. The discovery was an accident. A team of astronomers was looking for the proposed "Planet X" or "Planet 9," which is believed to lie beyond the orbit of Pluto. Source
  • Why do zebras have stripes? Perhaps to dazzle away flies

    Tech & Science CTV News
    LONDON -- Zebra stripes are dazzling -- particularly to flies. That's the conclusion of scientists from the University of Bristol and the University of California at Davis who dressed horses in black-and-white striped coats to help determine why zebras have stripes. Source