Ancient Village Unearthed

WHILE THESE PROTESTING SCIENTISTS ARE CONCERNED ABOUT THE FUTURE OF OUR PLANET – OTHERS ARE BUSY RESEARCHING ITS PAST. ONE GROUP OF SUCH SCIENTISTS ARE CALLED ARCHEOLOGISTS. ARCHAEOLOGISTS STUDY MAN-MADE OBJECTS FROM THE DISTANT PAST TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE DEVELOPMENT OF VARIOUS CIVILIZATIONS. AND ARCHAEOLOGISTS IN BRITISH COLUMBIA HAVE UNEARTHED A VILLAGE THOUGHT TO BE OLDER THAN THE PYRAMIDS.  SOME OF THE TOOLS THEY FOUND ARE ABOUT 14-THOUSAND YEARS OLD. THE DISCOVERY ALSO PROVES STORIES THAT HAVE BEEN PASSED DOWN IN THE REGION FOR GENERATIONS.

SCOTT CUNNINGHAM REPORTS.

ON A REMOTE BC ISLAND THERE IS A HOLE AND INSIDE IS A WINDOW TO OUR PAST.

Alisha Gauvreau/ Student: "I remember when we got the dates back and I just sat back and said 'holy molly' this is old."

500 KILOMETERS NORTHWEST OF VICTORIA IS TRIQUET ISLAND. THE ROCKY SPIT IS FAR FROM CIVILIZATION BUT SCIENTIST SAY ARTIFACTS EXHUMED HERE PAINT A PICTURE OF HOW OUR CIVILIZATION BEGAN.

Alisha Gauvreau/ Student: "What this is doing is changing our idea in the way in which how North America was first peopled."

WHAT WAS FOUND HERE IS INCREDIBLE. TOOLS FOR LIGHTING FIRES, FISH HOOKS AND SPEARS, ALL DATING BACK 14,000 YEARS THE DISCOVERY LEADING EXPERTS TO BELIEVE A LARGE HUMAN MIGRATION MAY HAVE OCCURRED ON BC'S UNFROZEN COASTLINE. BUT MORE REMARKABLE MAY BE THE COLLISION OF FIRST NATION LEGEND AND SCIENTIFIC DISCOVERY.

William Housty/ Heiltsuk First Nation: "It's very special, not just to me but the entire tribe."

LIKE LIVING HEIRLOOMS, HEILTSUK FIRST NATION ELDERS HAVE PASSED DOWN STORIES OF ANCIENT COASTAL VILLAGES, CULTURAL FABLES NOW CEMENTED IN FACT.

William Housty/ Heiltsuk First Nation: "To think about how these stories survived all of that, only to be you know, supported by this archeological evidence is just amazing."

UNEARTHED THE BC VILLAGE IS THE OLDEST TO BE DISCOVERED IN NORTH AMERICA. BUT WORK HERE NOT DONE TROWELS IN HAND, SCIENTISTS WILL DIG ON OTHER BC ISLANDS AND TRACK THE ANCIENT FOOTPRINT OF MAN AS FAR AS IT GOES.

THANKS, SCOTT.

ACROSS THE OCEAN, IN ENGLAND, ARCHEOLOGISTS HAVE MADE ANOTHER DISCOVERY. THIS ONE’S NOT QUITE AS OLD, BUT THEY REALLY BROUGHT IT TO LIFE.  ALARGE CEMETERY, DATING BACK TO THE 13TH CENTURY, WAS DISCOVERED IN CAMBRIDGE - DURING RENOVATIONS AT ST JOHN’S COLLEGE.  THE MASS CEMETERY, WHICH IS FAR LARGER THAN THE SMALL BURIAL GROUND ARCHAEOLOGISTS WERE EXPECTING, CONTAINS ABOUT 400 COMPLETE SKELETONS OF POOR AND SICK RESIDENTS. THE CEMETERY WAS ATTACHED TO A HOSPITAL AND CHARITY DURING THE MIDDLE AGES – THAT’S THE PERIOD BETWEEN THE 5TH AND 15TH CENTURIES.

MUCH TIME AND ATTENTION IS PAID TO THE ENGLISH ROYALTY OF THE MIDDLE AGES, BUT RESEARCHERS DON’T KNOW NEARLY AS MUCH ABOUT THE ORDINARY POOR AND THEIR LIVES, SO THEY’RE USING THIS DISCOVERY TO LEARN MORE. TO PUT A FACE TO THE DISCOVERY, ARCHAEOLOGISTS ENLISTED THE HELP OF A FORENSIC RECONSTRUCTION ARTIST AT THE UNIVERSITY OF DUNDEE, TO RECONSTRUCT THE FACE OF ONE OF THE SKELETONS. THE 13TH-CENTURY MAN, KNOWN AS CONTEXT 958 BY RESEARCHERS, WAS LIKELY A MEMBER OF THE POOR URBAN WORKING CLASS, POSSIBLY A LABORER OR CRAFTSMAN. AND HE LIVED TO A GOOD AGE FOR HIS PERIOD, BETWEEN 40 AND 70 YEARS OLD.

BUT THIS KIND OF ART IS NOT LIMITED TO DRAWING HUMANS – IN FACT, SOME ARTISTS WORK WITH PALEONTOLOGISTS. PALEONTOLOGISTS ARE SCIENTISTS THAT STUDY FOSSILS – AND YOU CAN THANK A PALEONTOLOGIST FOR EVERYTHING WE KNOW ABOUT DINOSAURS!

Instructional Links

Website Article: CBC News, Archeological Find Affirms Heiltsuk Nation's Oral History

Website Article & Map: Tageo, Triquet Island

Magazine Article: EBSCOhost, Scholastic Action, March 24, 2014, Ice Age Death Trap | May need password. Discussed animal extinctions during Ice Age.

Website Article: Easy Science for Kids, Ice Age | Includes info, vocabulary, video & questions.

PDF: Society for American Archaeology, Could Your Past Be in Your Future | Flyer has info on careers

Website Article: The Guardian Face of Cambridge man brought to life 700 years after his death

Website Article: University of Cambridge, Archaeologists unearth medieval graveyard beneath Cambridge College | Includes images slide show of cemetery excavation

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