Langara College Archaeology Field School

July 26, 2013 just happened to be the last field day for students enrolled in the Langara College annual Archaeology Field school.  Most of the day was taken up with field surveys within the 400 ha Stanley Park, located west of the Vancouver downtown area.  Stanley Park is a semi-wild area of forest, beaches and various attractions – but mostly forest intersected by trails that most tourists (and locals) tend to stay on.  Not so archaeologists – we venture off the beaten track to locate and record culturally modified trees (CMTs), petroforms, middens and other features (including bush camps made by a number of the homeless).

The surveys we conducted on 26 July included the discovery or re-recording of several CMTs, middens, bush camps, a couple of interesting petroforms as well as a recent (very recent, i.e, some hours previous) scatter of cremains – cremated human or animal ash and calcined bones, probably human.  These were located between a poorly constructed wooden seat and the cliff face looking westward across the ocean – a good viewpoint and logical spot to scatter ashes.



The cremains were certainly interesting (as were the contemporary bush camps), but what really piqued student interest was a recent petroform – a stone circle.

Langara Archaeology Field School 26 July 2013

Langara Archaeology Field School 26 July 2013

Measuring 180 cm (inner diameter) across, the petroform is constructed of granite rip rap ‘salvaged’ from a nearby ditch undergoing repair.  Students were quick to note that this is a fairly recent construct and were invited to develop hypotheses to explain it.  Neo-paganism was the consensus.

A return trip to gather more detailed measurements is planned – as well as to try and figure out why there are copper bells hung about 10 meters up a nearby tree and closer investigation of a stone cairn built into a bark-stripped CMT base.





One thought on “Langara College Archaeology Field School

  1. The very interesting thing about the stone circle was of course the old mound that it surrounded. This can be seen (and considered old) by the visible root system that went over top of it, as seen in the picture. Since it takes awhile for a root of that size to grow it would be easy to assume that the mound is way older than the placement of the stones around it.

    What I have read about roots is that they like the easy way, so if something is blocking it’s way it will of course redirect – to the easiest path. This looks like something was definitely blocking its path, like maybe more rocks underneath the layer of soil? hmmm

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