Digging Deep in the Field and the Lab
Archaeology major Anna Arnn ’17 spent back-to-back summers researching the Slocan Narrows Pithouse Village in British Columbia in traditional Sinixt territory. The first summer she was on site with a team that excavated several houses. The next, working back on campus with Associate Professor of Anthropology Nathan Goodale, Arnn studied the faunal remains and animal bones collected at the site.
“Although the artifacts we've uncovered are modest, the collection of all of them together and each one individually have an incredible ability to inform us about the site and its occupants. It's amazing to be a part of,” Arnn says. “It's easy to think about them as simply objects, and they're pretty much the people's garbage - food and tool scraps, often, but it's the object in its context that is fascinating and what archaeology is all about.”
At one of the houses the team exposed remains that turned out to be bird bones, a couple of which were most likely from ducks. Most of the bones appeared to have been burned in a fire made by humans.
“While it’s fascinating to think about physical features of a bone, the most incredible thing is when you can take a step back from what’s immediately in front of you and realize that Sinixt ancestors 2,000 years ago might have looked at that same bone as it was burning in the hearth,” says Arnn, who is considering going into archaeology or veterinary medicine after she graduates from Hamilton.