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

  • Facebook takes down 652 accounts linked to Russia, Iran

    Tech & Science CTV News
    Facebook has identified and banned more accounts engaged in misleading political behaviour ahead of the U.S. midterm elections in November. The social network said Tuesday that it had removed 652 pages, groups, and accounts linked to Russia and, unexpectedly, Iran, for "co-ordinated inauthentic behaviour" that included the sharing of political material. Source
  • Facebook says it yanked hundreds of pages and accounts designed to 'mislead'

    Tech & Science CBC News
    Facebook Inc. says it has removed multiple pages, groups and accounts for what it called co-ordinated "inauthentic behaviour" on its site and on Instagram. The company said in its blog Tuesday that it removed 652 pages, groups and accounts from activities that originated in Iran, and pages, groups and accounts linked to sources that the U.S. Source
  • Ice has been found on the surface of the moon

    Tech & Science CBC News
    Scientists say they've found ice on the surface of the moon — a potential water source for future human moon explorers. Most of the ice sits in the shadows of craters near the moon's poles, reports a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this week. Source
  • Facebook flags users who try to 'game' fact-checking effort

    Tech & Science CTV News
    Facebook acknowledged Tuesday it has developed tools to identify users "indiscriminately" flagging fake news as it refines its effort to combat misinformation. But the leading social network disputed as "just plain wrong" a Washington Post report that it has developed an overall "reputation score" for its users as part of the initiative. Source
  • Bison herd officially protected on provincial land near Banff

    Tech & Science CTV News
    EDMONTON -- A plains bison herd has officially been protected as wildlife on provincial land near Banff National Park. The ministerial order by Parks Minister Shannon Phillips was signed today. It gives the Banff bison the same protection as other wildlife -- such as grizzly bears -- should they wander out of the park and onto provincial land. Source
  • Critics urge Canada to stop producing nuclear waste until new disposal policy

    Tech & Science CTV News
    OTTAWA -- Environmental groups say Canada should stop producing nuclear energy until the federal government replaces its "pathetic" waste disposal policy with something more meaningful and scientific. The groups, including the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility and the Canadian Environmental Law Association, plan to protest a meeting Wednesday where officials will discuss plans to decommission nuclear labs and reactors in Chalk River, Ont. Source
  • How milkweed-stuffed winter coats could help monarch butterflies

    Tech & Science CTV News
    MONTREAL -- An initiative to market milkweed for the benefit of monarch butterflies -- and the farmers in Quebec and Vermont who grow it -- is getting a boost from a Canadian parka company that is renewing its commitment to sell coats made with the plant's floss. Source
  • Microsoft co-founder's space firm unveils rocket, space plane plans

    Tech & Science CBC News
    The space company of billionaire Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen on Monday unveiled details of medium-lift rockets and a reusable space cargo plane it is developing, injecting more competition into the lucrative launch services market. With its rockets, Allen's Stratolaunch Systems Corp is trying to cash in on higher demand in the coming years for vessels that can put satellites into orbit. Source
  • Microsoft uncovers more Russian attacks ahead of midterms

    Tech & Science CTV News
    Microsoft said Tuesday it has uncovered new Russian hacking attempts targeting U.S. political groups ahead of the midterm elections. The company said that a hacking group tied to the Russian government created fake internet domains that appeared to spoof two American conservative organizations: the Hudson Institute and the International Republican Institute. Source
  • How a St. John's wildlife oasis prevents flooding in the city

    Tech & Science CBC News
    It's easy to miss but Lundrigan's Marsh, a large wetland surrounded by industry in the east end of St. John's, is quietly helping a wide variety of wildlife and city residents. Bordered by Logy Bay Road and East White Hills Road, the wetland is a hidden gem tucked behind businesses, junkyards and a regional landfill. Source