Archaeological Excavation

Introduction to Archaeology
Rain Forest Vegetation
Buried Streams
Shell Middens
Food Cache
Dog Burial
Warrior Cache
Petroglyphs and Pictographs

Tsimshian Society and Culture

Tsimshian Villages

Archaeological Excavation

Buried Streams

Clam Digging Stick - 
CD96-007-085 - S93-10807 Clam-digging stick
Ca. A.D. 1
Lachane site, excavated 1973

At two sites, buried streams were found in which the soil was permanently water-saturated. Such soil is free from bacterial action that destroys wood and plant fibres, creating an environment in which wooden and fibre artifacts can be preserved for thousands of years.

Buried streams once supplied fresh water to the inhabitants of the sites. Water buckets, baskets, tools and ornaments were occasionally dropped or discarded into the streams.

Excavation of Wet Sites Excavation methods change radically on wet sites. The water is removed by pumps, then hoses are used to wash away the soil from the artifacts. Wooden artifacts of great antiquity have to be kept moist until they can be treated in a conservation laboratory by freeze-drying or carbowax impregnation.

Excavation of Wet Sites Over 500 wooden and fibre artifacts, up to 2,000 years old, were recovered from the Lachane Site near Prince Rupert and treated at the laboratory of the Canadian Conservation Institute in Ottawa.