VIDEO: Archeological remains discovered at B.C. park

Archeologists, White Rock, Semiahmoo First Nation studying extent of uncovered shell midden

Semiahmoo First Nation is working with the City of White Rock and its archeological consultants to assess an archeological site discovered at Memorial Park early this week.

SFN councillor Joanne Charles said Thursday that part of a shell midden was found at the southeast end of the site, below the washrooms and adjacent to the stairway leading down to the pier, during digging to locate utility lines at the Memorial Park property.

Contacted by Peace Arch News, the city confirmed “dark, organic sediments with abundant shell, charcoal, and animal bones were discovered on Monday.”

Shell middens, found in coastal zones around the world, are heaps of mollusk shells, combined with other human-created debris, which can be very significant for archeologists tracing the history and nature of human habitation in a specific area.

A shell midden’s high calcium carbonate content creates a zone of increased alkalinity which counteracts normal soil acidity, helping preserve organic materials such as food remnants, tools, clothing and even human remains. On Canada’s west coast they can extend as much as a kilometre and be several metres deep, depending on the length of human habitation.

“They can be very extensive,” said Charles, who said the site now needs to be registered with the B.C.’s Archeology Branch. “There needs to be further investigation and evaluation.”

Archeological inspection of the site – and monitoring by representatives of SFN and a number of First Nations – is being conducted through a Heritage Inspection Permit issued under Section 14 of the BC Heritage Conservation Act, which protects all documented and undocumented archaeological sites in the province.

“My understanding is that the archeologist (employed by the city) has made an application for an amendment to the permit to allow for an additional buffer outside of the permitted line,” Charles said.

Charles said she believes the processing of that application may take a month or longer.

“It’s going to be a bit of a longer process for us.”

Charles said the latest development vindicates the SFN position on following archeological protocols at the site. She, SFN Chief Harley Chappell and councillor Roxanne Charles presented a cease-and-desist order to the city last September at what was to be the city’s groundbreaking ceremony of its Memorial Park upgrade project, halting work until an agreement could be reached on archeological inspection.

“We wanted due process to be followed,” she said. “We knew that this area was of archeological significance – we knew it had been occupied in times past, historically.”

Earlier this month, the city had reported that nothing had been found at the site.

“We’ve done some non-destructive work at the site and the archeological-impact assessment is continuing,” city manager Dan Bottrill told PAN the second week in January.

“As we expected, the archeological impact work is turning up nothing – it’s just fill.”

Thursday, in response to questions from PAN, city communications manager Farnaz Farrokhi released a statement on behalf of the city.

“We have a Provincial Permit to conduct an Archaeological Impact Assessment (AIA) in conjunction with the Memorial Park Project,” it says.

“The Permit is held by the archeologist hired by the city and testing is being carried out by the archaeologist together with cultural monitors from local First Nations. As part of the testing, dark, organic sediments with abundant shell, charcoal, and animal bones were discovered on Monday.

“This discovery is being investigated further and additional testing will be carried out next week to determine its’ extent and an appropriate course of mitigation.”

 

The City of White Rock and archeological consultants are studying the extent of archeological remains discovered during digging at Memorial Park this week. (Aaron Hinks photo)

Just Posted

Local and international artists paint murals across Victoria

Sixteen murals are spread out across downtown Victoria as part of the ‘concrete canvas’ project

Federal government announces over $115 million to Royal Canadian Navy

Defence Minister Harjit S. Sajjan was at CFB Esquimalt to announce missile system upgrades

Crash snarles traffic on Highway 17

Traffic southbound is seriously delayed and northbound down to one lane on… Continue reading

Victoria Police arrest man in relation to indecent act at Beacon Hill Park

The man is known to police, and is facing three charges

Oak Bay brothers scoop 10 kg of poop from park paths in 30 mins

Family picks up dog poo to give back, inspire others to be more responsible

PHOTOS: B.C. city wakes up to darkness under wildfire smoke

The rest of the province also dealing with thick haze as smoky skies continue

Five things to do in Greater Victoria this weekend

Puppy yoga, horses, cars, water guns and more make up this weekend’s list of events to see

Authorities mull evacuation order for Zeballos

Smoke billowed from the steep hillsides of Zeballos on Friday evening, as… Continue reading

Safeway union urges prejection of mediator recommendations

Says mediator asks for too many concessions

Fire chases B.C. crews out of their own camp

Crews in Burns Lake had to leave after a wildfire reportedly overtook their sleeping quarters

To address peacock problem, B.C. city moves ahead on trapping plan

Surrey’s new bylaw focuses on ensuring people no longer feed the birds, ahead of relocation

Hospitals to see ‘delays’ in care after losing Saudi students, health group says

About 1,000 Saudi residents called back to kingdom after suspending diplomatic relations with Canada

Bernier diatribe against ‘extreme multiculturalism’ boosts Liberal coffers

Party spokesperson Braeden Caley says online donations doubled, social media engagement quadrupled

‘Disjointed’ system hinders British Columbia First Nations in wildfire fight

More than 550 wildfires were burning in B.C. and crews were bracing for wind and dry lightning

Most Read