New discoveries of ancient sites in the boreal forest

Written by: Todd Kristensen, Regional Archaeologist

Recent archaeological discoveries in Alberta’s Boreal Forest are confirming the antiquity of Indigenous occupation of this place and refining ideas of how pre-contact people adapted to landscapes. Two fresh articles in the most recent issue of the Archaeological Survey of Alberta’s Occasional Paper Series explore ancient sites found in northwest Alberta.

Alexandra Burchill describes a site in the Foothills near Grande Cache where a Scottsbluff spear point base (likely made around 9,000 years ago) was found with obsidian flakes. The obsidian was sourced using laboratory techniques to a volcanic outcrop in northwest British Columbia. The spear and obsidian suggest cultural connections that spanned over a 1000 km from the Plains of Alberta to BC’s Coast Mountains.

Projectile point base recovered from GbQn-13. Source: Alexandra Burchill.

Tobi Krahulic presents a Clovis site from around 12,000 years ago found west of Grande Prairie. Her paper explains how early people may have settled in some of the first landscapes to be exposed by melting ice sheets that formed a corridor in what is now Alberta.  

Projectile point, site GfQu-30; accessioned into the Royal Alberta Museum un­der archaeology permit 19-080, catalogue #29, 30, and 31. Source: Tobi Krahulic.

Other articles in the Occasional Paper Series are accessible for free download here.

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