This blog post isn’t about anything other than a PSA that I’ll be at the Canadian Archaeological Association’s 2017 Annual Conference (which also happens to be in celebration of their 50th anniversary), at the Canadian Museum of History! I guess it sort of ties in with what I wrote the other week about the importance of conferences for networking. I’m super stoked to be going, it sounds like it’s going to be a great conference with lots of fantastic sessions proposed. Check out their website for the list of proposed sessions, which includes everything from CRM to forensics to regionally specific research (i.e. Woodlands, the Arctic, BC). There’s also going to be a session on public archaeology, for which I am a big advocate of (which is one of the reasons why I write this blog). As the site gets updated, you’ll also be able to find out who’s presenting what and when they’re presenting. Plus there are lots of extra goodies, such as a behind-the-scenes sneak peek tour of the newly rennovated Canadian History Hall and a tour of the storage and lab facilities at the CMH. I encourage you to try to join the tour of the rennovated Canadian History Hall, because a project I’m involved with through the shishalh Archaeological Research Project is actually going to be featured as a permanent exhibit. A few years ago in Sechelt, BC, several burials were uncovered which included nearly 400,000 stone and shell disc beads, making them the richest burials anywhere on the Northwest Coast (an area which geographically covers southern Alaska to north/central Oregon). One burial alone held over 350,000 of these beads, believed to have originally formed a robe this individual wore in burial. Working collaboratively with the shishalh Nation, facial reconstructions have brought these individuals to life and they’re absolutely amazing. The bead robes have also been reconstructed with 3D replicas of ALL the beads. Super incredible. Last summer we had a documentary crew in the field with us to film a little 3 minute video which will also be part of the exhibit. You get to see my hands digging through the dirt! Perhaps the coolest part of this entirely exhibit is that a duplicate exhibit has also been made, which will be sent to the shishalh Nation to be put in their local museum, the Tems Swiya Museum (great museum, if you’re ever in town I recommend going to see it). So! Lots of exciting reasons to come to the CAA’s, if you can make it! And if you can, come and say hi!
As a bonus goodie to this post, here’s a copy of the abstract for the talk I’ll be giving about my glass bead research.
In May 2015, a disarticulated adult human mandible was uncovered in Garden Bay, British Columbia, within close proximity to the large shíshálh village site of tsxwamin (DjSa-3). Found in association with the mandible were 80 intact unadorned mold-blown glass beads and 34 unadorned mold-blown glass bead fragments. Due to their fragile nature, blown-glass beads are incredibly rare in archaeological contexts and the beads from Garden Bay are from one of only five sites in North America where unadorned mold-blown glass beads have been found. The beads from Garden Bay are the first of their kind found in British Columbia and the first of their kind reported in Canada. Furthermore, these beads also represent the largest sample size of the five North American sites where they have been found. These beads were likely manufactured during the late 19th century in the western region of the Czech Republic formerly known as Bohemia, which by this time had become the world-leader in blown-glass bead manufacturing. This presentation will discuss this new style of glass bead and what implications their discovery holds for tsxwamin.