Studying a 2,700 Year Old Village in Canada

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Interior of a Sinixt pithouse in the Slocan Valley
Interior of a Sinixt pithouse in the Slocan Valley. This pithouse, which was reconstructed along traditional lines, is used by Sinixt Nation members for traditional ceremonies and celebrations.

Last summer, Hamilton College archaeology student Morgan Biggs attended the college’s archaeological field school, led by Assistant Professor of Archaeology Nathan Goodale, and excavated artifacts from the Slocan Narrows Pithouse Village in southeastern British Columbia, Canada.

The village, which was occupied 2,700 years ago, is home to one of the largest pit houses in the Pacific Northwest. The  Slocan Narrows Archaeological Project  (SNAP) team excavated these pithouses, a type of group dwelling that is partially underground, and found flakes from stone tools. The group recorded the precise location of each flake, postulating as to whether the tools were made on-site or were simply sharpened there.

After gathering artifacts, the team used an x-ray fluorescence spectrometer to determine the elemental composition and origins of the items. This is an important step, as Biggs pointed out, because it can be used to understand migration patterns and trade routes of ancient populations.

Read More: Piecing Together the Past: Artifacts from 2,700 Year Old Village

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