Mammoth Trackers, Bison Hunters, Rock Artists, and Fur Traders: Highlights of Alberta Archaeology

Lecture | May 15 | 12-1 p.m. | 101 2251 College (Archaeological Research Facility)

 Shawn Bubel, Associate Professor, Department of Geography (Archaeology), University of Lethbridge

 Archaeological Research Facility

The archaeology of the Canadian province of Alberta provides important information about the various periods of human habitation in North America. The earliest evidence for cultural activity in Alberta dates to around 13,000 years ago. These people hunted megafauna in an environment that was very different from today’s. Dramatic evidence for these activities was revealed at the site of Wally’s Beach. With the retreat of the glaciers, hunting strategies in the south shifted towards bison. This transition is not well documented in the province, but artifacts recovered from sites like Purple Springs suggest potential for future research. For later periods, Alberta has some of the most dramatic examples of large orchestrated kill sites, such as the UNESCO World Heritage site, Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump and the smaller Fincastle site. Ceremonial sites are also present in the province with medicine wheels and effigies found in the open plains and particularly dramatic rock art at Writing-on-Stone / Áísínai’pi provincial park. Further north, in the Boreal forest, interactions between First Nations groups and fur traders have been revealed through excavations at Ft Vermillion and the Boyer River Post, which are some of the earliest such sites in the province. Join Shawn Bubel from the University of Lethbridge in southern Canada as she describes her work at all of these sites throughout Alberta.