SASKATOON – According to the Saskatchewan Archaeological Society humans have lived in the province for at least 12-thousand years and left behind thousands of archaeological treasures.
“About ten years ago, there was 23,000 and now we’re at 25,000, so there’s about 25,000 identified archaeological sites,” said Saskatchewan Archaeological Society executive director Tomasin Playford.
New sites are being unearthed all the time and that’s why the archaeological society has gathered each summer for the last fifty-three years to share new findings.
University of Saskatchewan associate professor Margaret Kennedy has been working throughout the province for the last five years. She’s been researching ceremonial stone feature sites like death lodges and medicine circles.
“When we have this opportunity to see what was there that’s really important because we’re losing native grassland so quickly … and recording it helps create a wider picture and understanding of First Nation’s use of this land,” said Kennedy.
Kennedy is working to find the relationship between the sites and determine what each stone pattern was used for.
“I think it’s the discovery, it’s making the linkages and finding the larger patterns that’s what’s been really interesting to me,” said Kennedy.
University of Saskatchewan master’s student Eliann Stoffel has found her passions elsewhere, and you could say they’re of mammoth proportions.
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She’s been analysing the bones of the ‘Kyle Mammoth’ found outside of Kyle, Sask. in 1964.
“Well, nobody has really looked at the Kyle Mammoth in about fifty years so why don’t we take a look at it from an archaeological perspective and see if maybe it was hunted,” said Stoffel.
Stoffel presented some of her findings Saturday at Wanuskewin Heritage Park, concluding that most likely the mammoth died of natural causes, but bones showed signs of an attempted human kill.
“I think it’s very important that we learn about our past cultures, especially as most of us are European. We need to be open to the idea that other people were here first and we need to know what they were doing,” said Stoffel.
The Saskatchewan Archaeological Society will continue to meet each year, sharing historical treasures that give glimpses of what it was like to live in Saskatchewan thousands of year ago.