Archaeological ExcavationMuseum specialists from the Archaeological Survey of Canada wanted to reconstruct portions of a site in Canada where the widest possible range of archaeological problems were encountered. In doing so, it was felt that a person who did not have the benefit of visiting a real dig would be able to see the relationships between artifacts and features, just as the archaeologist found them.
It was necessary to select a site which:
had been occupied for a long time, and had deep deposits to demonstrate stratigraphy;
had good preservation with a range of materials represented, including bone, wood, shell and stone;
had a wide range of features, such as the remains of dwellings, food-processing areas, tool-manufacturing areas, and cemeteries, which would reflect the lifestyle of its occupants.
Museum archaeologists ultimately chose the Boardwalk site (GbTo 31), in Prince Rupert harbour, on the northern British Columbia coast as best meeting the requirements of the new gallery. This site, excavated between 1968 and 1970, by crews from the then, National Museum of Man (now the CMC), was a major winter village of one of the nine tribes of the Coast Tsimshian. It measures 600 feet (182.4 metres), along the shoreline, by 200 feet (60.8 metres), inland, and reaches a depth of 200 feet (61.0 metres). It is estimated to contain half a million cubic feet (14,000 cubic metres) of cultural deposit.