Paleoethnobotany of Kilgii Gwaay: a 10,700 year old Ancestral Haida Archaeological Wet Site Jenny Cohen

 

ARCHAEOLOGICAL SOCIETY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA

VICTORIA

In association with the Anthropology Department of UVic

    

         SEPTEMBER MEETING 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014,

 7:30 pm

Cornett Building B129

(North End of Cornett building)

University of Victoria 

Paleoethnobotany of Kilgii Gwaay: a 10,700 year old Ancestral Haida Archaeological Wet Site

Jenny Cohen

Abstract: Kilgii Gwaay is an intertidal archaeological site, located in southern Haida Gwaii, British Columbia. Worked wood artifacts revealed the site’s significance as one of the earliest known examples of preserved plant usage on the Northwest Coast. Further excavations and analyses as part of my thesis research have added considerably to the known plant technologies and local paleoecology. Anatomical and morphological analyses of waterlogged material indicate the use of several species by ancestral Haida, including Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis), Western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla), alder (Alnus sp.), salmonberry (Rubus spectabilis), and red elderberry (Sambucus racemosa). These preliminary findings are consistent with local resource use and demonstrate the occurrence of technological practices, such as root- and wood-splitting, millennia before the widespread advent of western redcedar (Thuja plicata) in the region.

Bio: Jenny Cohen is finishing her Masters at the University of Victoria under the supervision of Dr. Quentin Mackie. She has been with Parks Canada and UVic on various Northwest Coast archaeological research projects since 2009. She also does artifact illustration and has worked in consulting archaeology. Her main interest areas are paleoethnobotany and environmental archaeology of early Holocene coastal sites. She incorporates previous training in horticulture, herbalism and fine arts into her research.

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