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

Controversial bylaw tabled, ‘beautified’ Kent kiosk

The lastest from the District of Kent council

Chilliwack-Kent MLA decries ‘classic, big tax-and-spend’ NDP budget

Laurie Throness says budget relies on strong economy but contains no ideas to help it grow

Driver of vehicle down 90-foot embankment rescued on Highway 5 near Hope

Rope rescue conducted on mutual-aid call with Chilliwack SAR, Hope SAR and Agassiz fire department

Missing man located in Harrison Mills

Social media helps track down missing man

B.C. BUDGET: Fare freeze, free travel for seniors on BC Ferries

A complete fare freeze will be put into place on major routes, and fares will be rolled back on smaller routes by 15 per cent

VIDEO: Top 10 B.C. budget highlights

The NDP is focusing on childcare, affordable housing and speeding up the elimination of MSP premiums

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Barnful of ducks die in early morning blaze

The cause of the fire is unknown

Horses and science combine for new program at Fraser Valley school

‘I get to do something I’m passionate about,’ says Chilliwack equine studies student

Thieves make off with live trolley wires in Vancouver

Authorities warn that touching live wire can be deadly

WATCH: Vancouver Island family builds eight-foot igloo in their yard

Sunday snowfall on the mid-Island leads to all-day family activity

TransLink ready for the snow

Officials at TransLink say they are ready for the snow that is supposed to fall this weekend

Three new judges appointed to B.C. Supreme Court

Two spots filled in Vancouver, one in New Westminster

BCHL Today: Merritt’s Buckley nets scholarship and Vees slam Salmon Arm

BCHL Today is a (near) daily look at what’s going on around the league and the junior A world.

Most Read