Saskatchewan Archaeological Society invites public to dig

SASKATOON – Saskatchewan is full of historical sites, so much so that one could be right under your nose.

The South Branch House is believed to be the site a Hudson’s Bay Company fur trading posts before it burnt down in 1794. A team of archaeologists have been digging up the area near St. Louis trying to piece history back together.

“There are some questions about whether that identification is a correct identification or not. And the reason being, there were six South Branch Houses in the fur trade journals. So pinning it down to the South Branch House that burnt down is one of the questions we’ve been trying to address and we’re still trying to address that eight years later,” said Tomasin Playford, Saskatchewan Archaeological Society (SAS) executive director.

So far, 7,000 items have been dug up, with another 500 to 1000 pieces expected to be excavated this summer. Some of the discoveries so far include fur trade items, bones and personal materials.

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Archaeologists have been excavating at the site since May and are expected to be there until the mid-July. It is only one of two sites in Saskatchewan this year that are allowing the public to get involved.

“The first few weeks when we had lots of school aged children coming most of them in junior high were a blast actually. Their reaction learning about stuff, first not sure about it but by the end of the day they just loved it all,” said Archaeologist Candice Koblun.

While it may be time consuming, it’s the process and discovery of artifacts that keeps archaeologists continuing to dig for answers.

As archaeologists wrap up the site, members of the public are invited out but have to register first with the SAS.

There are 20,000 archaeological sites around Saskatchewan.

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