June 11, 2006

Keatley Creek is an unusual and great plateau culture site in the interior of British Columbia. [WARNING: crappy frames - resize for easier reading.]

Where I'll be gone for the next month and a half for research and training—see you soon, monkeys.

  • That's Mars, innit?
  • Enjoy your trip InsolentChimp, but honestly, here in Phoenix we reached a cultural plateau years ago. Would you like to biggie size that sir?
  • I'll look forward to your return, Chimp. Meanwhile you'll be in ruggedly beautiful country. Are you going to these particular digs?
  • Well, Chimpbreath, I'M jealous. Will you have connectivity, or will you be living a primate-ive lifestyle without connection to teh Intarwebs? That b&w is strangely reminiscent of the moon or Mars. Looks like they weren't much into large back yards--some of the circles practically overlap. Oh, and Chimpy, I'll expect a full report from you when you get back. send a picture of you dressed in your pith helmet--empty the pith out first
  • Hurrah for Isnolent Chimp! Please direct us to any publications about the dig, And since you claim to not have a blog, give us detail about your experience when you get back. Damn, I always wanted to go on a dig. I could see myself sifting the dirt and brushing off the accumulations of years from important finds. Not that I had any training.
  • Shoot, man. The dirt is the best part! Rubble rubble.
  • Dug.
  • Welcome back InsolentChimp! Did you have fun? Are there pictures?
  • I'm still adjusting to civilisation... will figure something out soon.
  • Will it help you adjust if I mug you, drive by your house with bass booming, and serve you a crappy fast food burger?
  • I've so missed the muggings. And for the record, GramMa, the reason that some of the pit houses are built rim to rim or over the rims of others is due to a long chronology of occupation; it is difficult to tell which structures were contemporaneous with others, but not all of the structures were occupied or built at the same time. I had a great time, mothninja, I'll see if I can get a pic of the excavation posted. Well, we've spent the past seven weeks with no internet, no lights, no motorcars in the pursuit of evidence for ritual structures at the Keatley Creek site. The current research leads some to believe that outside the core of the site (pictured above) there are structures which were used by secret societies to influence the direction of the group. We spent the summer digging one of these peripheral structures and found some interesting stuff. Boring fact #1: The majority of lithic waste found throughout the site is trachydacite; it is a very common stone in the area. In the larger pit houses you might see a few other types of raw material due to the established socioeconomic difference between large and small pit houses. The larger pit houses are generally accepted to house corporate groups which held control over resource sites (mostly fishing sites) .These family groups, of course, had more power than the small houses. Also these pit houses tend to be much larger (17+ meter diameter). The pit houses that we excavated was isolated from the core of the site by a hill on a terrace overlooking the core of the site. It was approximately 13 meters in diameter and contained a large quantity of chert and chalcedony (rare lithic types for the area) as well as trachydacite. This is a stark contrast to other poorer pit houses in the core of a similar size. Boring fact #2: Dogs were used extensively by the people who occupied the area. Wear marks on the vertebra (such as compression of the spinous process - the little pointy thing on the back of mammalian vertebrae) suggest the use of dogs as beasts of burden. These animals may have been used along with slaves to carry salmon from fishing stakes on the Fraser River back up to the site. Also, in one of the larger pit houses, an entire dog skeleton was found, completely articulated, in a storage pit. A skull was found in the middle of the floor of another pit house which may have been left there during the abandonment ritual. Furthermore, on the Plateau today Coyote still has the most significant position in the spiritual echelon of many different cultures. Mischevious and wise, he is responsible for the balance of the seasons, the creation of the world and benevolence to mankind. In the excavation we discovered a dog paw, fully articualted, in a supinated ("palm" up) position on the pit house floor stratum. As well, an earlier excavation in 1998 discovered a dog sacrum (the back-bone of the pelvic girdle) wrapped in birch bark on the pit house floor. CONTINUED...
  • Fun fact #1: Keatley Creek has the mystical ability to influence your bowel movements, the result: no solids. This has been noted by all who would admit to their consistency of dookie, which after seven weeks of primitive living included even the most prudish of prudes. Fun fact #2: The winding roads of the Fraser Canyon in the surrounding Lillooet area is littered with cars that have made their way into ditches. More autos have been abandoned in the area than I have seen anywhere else. A lot are the result of drunk drivers. Fun fact #3: Grouse are the stupidest birds I have yet had the opportunity to observe. Their idea of self-preservation is either standing still ("he won't see me now!") or walking away slowly ("act like you belong, c'mon, just blend right in.."). They are also annoying to camp near. They like to make a terrible noise which sounds like a giraffe vomiting a cold penguin onto a yak with a weak bladder at three in the morning. They are also very hard to kill. Rocks seem to bounce off their heads. I'm sure they're good eats tho' so I may have to wait until next spring. That's all for now. Until next time, godspeed.
  • Welcome back Chimp! Sounds like quite the adventure - I second mothninja's request for pictures. Must have been hot up there as Lillooet usually gets well into the 40s during the summer. Interesting comment about the dogs - I caught an item on the local news a couple of weeks ago about a dig at the site of a former native village here on Vancouver Island. Many dog bones were found in the same area where humans had been buried and mention was made of the high regard that west coast native societies had for dogs. I unfortunately don't remember the exact location of the village.
  • Very interesting. And your facts are not boring in the least.
  • MonkeyFilter: like a giraffe vomiting a cold penguin onto a yak with a weak bladder at three in the morning. And the award . . for the most striking imagery of the morning goes to . . (gosh, I'm so excited!) . .
  • Turns out that the "dog's" paw has been confirmed as a wolf's paw. No other news. I'll try and gather some pictures soon.