Excellent post on birch bark basketry…I’m not quite at this standard yet!!
Written by: Elizabeth Goldberg, Archaeological Survey of Alberta
Alberta archaeology, and field archaeology in general, places a lot of emphasis on stone tools. We divvy up projectile points into groups based on time, place and form. We source quarries for flaked toolsto hypothesize past trade relationshipsand seasonal migrations; and we admire projectile points for their beauty and the technical skill it took to make them.
Birch bark basket sewn with split spruce roots, Dënesųłı̨ne (Chipewyan). Source: Canadian Museum of History.
However, stone tools are only a very small part of the archaeological record— at well-preserved sites, artifacts made of plant and animal fibers make up the majority. These items are called perishable artifacts because they decay quickly, often long before any archaeologist stumbles upon them. Alberta’s climate is not conducive to the preservation of perishable artifacts, but their presence can be inferred through other means. We can…
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