Capilano University Archaeology Field School Information

Capilano University Archaeology Field School 2012 Information

The Field School program at Capilano University was started in 2000 by Bob Muckle (professor and project director) and has been focused in the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve. The project has been successfully helping to piece together the history of human occupation in the Seymour Valley since the early 1900’s using archaeology to form hypotheses and test them in the field/lab with excavations as well as examining/researching any artifacts that have been found. Each year, 15 students from Capilano University are selected to join the Field School learn archaeological methods, document evidence of culture, and provide the public with education about the logging and settlement of the LSCR in the very beginning of the 20th century.

How does it work?

The program runs for 7 weeks starting in May until the end of June which includes a combination of time in the field with experience working in the lab environment on Capilano University campus. The students are assigned individual projects to focus on during the program such as artifact cataloging, mapping/surveying areas in the LSCR, organizing level bags (items found during excavations that are not quite artifacts but evidence of culture nonetheless), presenting information to the public for educational purposes, as well as photographing and blogging the progress. All of the crew/students get a chance to excavate in the field, set up units, and learn to map/navigate the site.

Where? Why?

This year’s Field School is at the McKenzie Creek site in the LSCR. This area was occupied in the early 1900’s by Japanese inhabitants that logged the land and lived in cabins close to the Seymour River. We can see by the artifacts and data collected during previous Field Schools that there were several spots where Japanese people were living during this time including the Suicide Creek site which is about an hour long hike from the main entrance to the LSCR. Our aim is find out to the best of our ability just how long Japanese people were living in the valley up until the beginning of World War 2, as Bob Muckle has a working hypothesis that they remained in camps there after the logging was completed. With this theory in mind, we are hoping to find artifacts that date between 1920 and 1940 as evidence. When World War 2 began (specifically after the bombing of Pearl Harbor), Japanese people living in the Lower Mainland area were interned and only allowed to bring a single suitcase of personal items with them, leaving the rest of their possessions behind.

What becomes of all the work done in the Field School?

Results of the Field School research have several benefits to scholarly and public education. Television program features and news articles have been published so that anyone can learn about the history of the LSCR and about early logging/settlement in the Seymour Valley. Scholarly conferences and papers are great pieces of information that are taken into consideration when Metro Vancouver makes plans for that section of land in regards to heritage preservation and water reservoir protection. There are have been educational field trips by elementary and high school students to past Field School sites so that kids and young adults can gain some insight and education on archaeological methods and the LSCR heritage. 

For more information, see the Capilano University Field School Information page or contact:

Bob Muckle

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