Heritage at Risk: an Archaeological Response

Vendredi, mai 17, 2019 - 9:00am - 4:30pm
  • Matthew Betts
09:10 AM: The Scott Site (BcGk-27): A Multi-Component Site in the Rice Lake Region, Ontario
Format de présentation :
Auteur-e(s) :
  • Diana Lynne Hansen - Trent University
  • Olivia Campsall - Trent University
  • Daniel Josef LaPierre - Trent University

The Scott Site (BcGk-1) was excavated in 1966 as a Trent University archaeological field school under the supervision of Dr. Romas Vastokas. It is an important unpublished multi-component site in the Rice Lake area of Ontario, a region with many Archaic and Middle Woodland sites, but very few that have been comprehensively analysed or published.  Legacy collections such as this are important sources of information and they offer the opportunity for analysis without further disruption to the archaeological record. The Scott Site collection is a case study illustrating the importance of sustainable archaeology and the ethical dissemination of archaeological data. Despite being stored for 53 years, this assemblage makes a significant contribution to knowledge about the cultural history of the Rice Lake region. This presentation reviews the history of the excavation, and outlines the characteristics of the lithic, ceramic and faunal assemblages.

09:40 AM: Management, conservation and promotion of rock art heritage in Canada
Format de présentation :
Auteur-e(s) :
  • Dagmara Zawadzka - Université du Québec à Montréal

Rock art is an extricable element of Indigenous cultural landscapes. The images, the place, the surrounding landscape, as well as the activities and the stories associated with these places all had and continue to have a bearing on how rock art is experienced and understood. Canada is home to over 3000 rock art sites and this heritage faces many challenges when it comes to its conservation, management and promotion in situ and ex situ. While natural (e.g. erosion) and anthropic (e.g. vandalism) factors pose threats to rock art sites, their conservation, management and promotion do not always take into account the complex nature of this phenomenon and rare are places where rock art is not presented to the public as a simple sacred vestige of the past. By drawing on examples from especially Ontario as well as by discussing the new virtual exhibit on Canadian rock art - “Images on Stone” (https://imagesdanslapierre.mcq.org/en/) - this paper will examine how rock art in Canada is safeguarded and promoted and what steps are taken to ensure a better understanding of this heritage at risk.

10:30 AM: New Discoveries, New Losses of Vertical Series Rock Art in Alberta
Format de présentation :
Auteur-e(s) :
  • Jack Brink - Royal Alberta Museum

Vertical Series (VS) rock art is a rare and puzzling tradition that is characterized by repeated columns and rows of non-representational geometric and abstract symbols. The meaning of the symbols is almost entirely unknown. The tradition is known from only two dozen sites on the entire Great Plains and four sites in Alberta. Two of the Alberta sites were only discovered in the past several years thanks to technological advances that permit enhancement of very faint red colour pigment. This paper reviews the four Alberta VS rock art sites, looking at differences and commonalities. Site condition is discussed and it is noted that red pigment at all VS sites is very faint. In contrast, many red pictographs at other Alberta sites remain much more vibrant in colour. A possible explanation for the faded VS rock art is that it is of considerable age. Although no sites have been absolutely dated, new evidence from Montana suggests that VS sites in Alberta could be several thousand years old. Clearly, VS rock art is being lost to weathering. The purpose and meaning of VS rock art remains enigmatic, but a symbolic system of communication - as this art surely was - remains one of the closest developments in Precontact North America to a written "language". 


11:00 AM: Archaeological Resource Management in a post wildfire environment: Waterton Lakes NP
Format de présentation :
Auteur-e(s) :
  • William Perry - Parks Canada

Waterton Lakes National Park is part of a rich cultural landscape that stretches back around ten thousand years within the traditional territories of the Blackfoot Nation.  The Kenow Wildfire of 2017 has presented a unique opportunity for archaeological research in the Park.  The wildfire cleared out the ground cover, allowing exceptional visibility of the land surface.

Parks Canada has put together a team of archaeologists for a 5-year project to record and research the new finds that come to light.  Initial site survey results have uncovered an unprecedented degree of archaeological visibility focussed on the last 1000 years.  This paper also highlights archaeological research and engagement with the surrounding indigenous nations, communities, local landowners and interested public. 

Excavation and core sampling of select archaeological sites are planned for the coming field season that afford potential to report on the complete regional human history time frame within the park with a focus on environmental/climate change and past fire history research

01:40 PM: A Review of Management Options for Modern Climate Change Impacts to Protected Heritage Sites in British Columbia
Format de présentation :
Auteur-e(s) :
  • Eva Brooke - Simon Fraser University

Thousands of archaeological and historical heritage sites in British Columbia are potentially threatened by climate change. Different approaches to managing impacts to protected heritage sites in reaction to climate changes have been developed and will continue to evolve. This presentation will provide a general outline of the impacts observed at heritage sites in British Columbia and management strategies applied. To illustrate this I examine two case studies. The first is the mountain pine beetle infestation that began in the 1990’s and the second is the 2017/2018 wildfires. Using the case studies I discuss observed challenges faced by archaeologists and heritage managers in British Columbia regarding sites vulnerable to climate change and will provide a list of potential recommendations to assist in the management of future impacts.

02:10 PM: Sea of Memories: Coastal Archaeology in Iceland
Format de présentation :
Auteur-e(s) :
  • Adolf  Fridriksson - Fornleifastofnun Íslands / Institute of Archaeology - Iceland
For centuries, sites along the Icelandic coasts have been destroyed as a result of a combination of natural factors, including tectonic plate movements. More recently, rising sea levels due to global warming, is contributing to an acceleration of the destruction of a very important aspect of the Icelandic cultural heritage.For the past two decades, archaeological remains by the seashore in Iceland have been surveyed and mapped. This paper presents a general overview and analysis of the available survey data as well as recent coastal rescue excavations.
03:00 PM: Shaping the care and protection of Nunavut's archaeological heritage
Format de présentation :
Auteur-e(s) :
  • Lynda Gullason - Carleton University

Archaeological sites in the eastern High Arctic are being impacted by coastal erosion, high winds and, in some cases, by human interference and neglect. If culturally-significant endangered sites are not identified and prioritized, and either protected or excavated, there is real risk of losing Nunavut's archaeological heritage to these factors. Three sites are discussed. Morin Point is a Thule site in Dundas Harbour (Devon Island) at threat of loss due to active coastal erosion. A rescue archaeology project for the site is in development. Two historic sites, Northumberland House on Beechey Island and the Dundas Harbour RCMP Post, are in very poor condition. Virtually nothing remains of Northumberland House, originally erected in 1852-1853 by the British Navy for members of the missing Franklin Expedition and other search expeditions. Wave or ice action, storm surges, frost-crack formation and human activity are destroying the site. At the RCMP Post, high winds completely overturned one building last year. The buildings were stabilized with permission from the Nunavut Territorial Archaeologist and the assistance of a carpentry crew from an expedition cruise company. However, concerned people will attempt to repair archaeological and historic sites that are degrading when they do not see evidence that government authorities are taking matters in hand. It is likely that they will use inappropriate techniques and materials to do so. Policy development on site visit protocol; the practice of memorializing visits; site stabilization and restoration; and ad hoc site restoration is recommended.

03:30 PM: Greenland’s Heritage at Risk: Lessons from the Eastern Arctic
Format de présentation :
Auteur-e(s) :
  • Christian Koch Madsen - Greenland National Museum & Archives
  • Hans Harmsen - Greenland National Museum & Archives

Greenland is famous for its examples of well-preserved archaeology spanning the country’s entire history, for instance the of hair from a man from the Saqqaq culture yielding the first whole human genome from prehistory, the “Farm Beneath the Sand” that preserved the perfectly permafrozen remains of an entire medieval Norse farm, the Qilaqitsoq mummies from the Thule culture etc. However, global climate change is now impacting the Arctic at an unforeseen rate, presenting heritage managers with a new set of challenges in an already challenging setting. In a response to observations and warnings by locals, archaeologists, and heritage managers in Greenland and all over the Arctic, Greenland National Museum & Archives have since 2012 participated in projects aimed at determining the nature, extent, and speed of climate related threats to Greenland’s cultural heritage and, if possible, to identify mitigating action. The initial findings suggest that warming, thawing of permafrost, erosion, increased precipitation, and melting glaciers and snow patches, poses serious threats, but also that the threat level is highly variable across regional environments: in some areas the damage appears done, in others, little has changed. New threats identified include vegetation increase and washing out of soils. Economic constrains, remoteness, extent of the threats, and extreme logistic challenges largely prevent mitigating action. The best course forward now appears building local heritage management capacity and applying a systematic site management, value and risk assessment protocol.