2023 Archaeological Field School

Spring 2023: May 1 – June 20

The Brandon University Archaeological Field School (12:342) is a six week, 6-credit course in archaeological field and laboratory methods. This course provides an opportunity for students to gain practical experience in the field by learning how to plan an excavation, excavate properly and efficiently, work communally, and identify artifacts on site. Students also learn proper lab procedures, artifact identification and cataloguing techniques, and report writing. The artifacts and information uncovered during these field schools contribute to the unfortunate dearth of Manitoban archaeological history, and to Canadian history as a whole.

This year, the excavation component will be held at a site along the Souris River, just outside of Souris, Manitoba. It is situated in pastureland and surrounded by small valleys, rolling hills, and trees. The deposit containing artifacts is about 40cm thick. An average radiocarbon date of 668 +/- 30 years ago was obtained from excavated animal bone samples.

This site is unique because it contains in situ deposits of Late Precontact artifacts that are usually found in disturbed contexts. In particular, the pottery is unusual because it does not easily fit into any previously defined typology. Some vessels seem to reflect a combination of styles that were made hundreds of years earlier, in particular, Blackduck and Bird Lake and Duck Bay. We expect the material remains recovered during this year’s field school to indicate who lived there, when they lived there, what they did at the site, and how they interacted with their neighbours in other parts of southwest Manitoba. This site has the potential to greatly enhance our understanding of the people who lived in the area, but it is threatened by erosion due to recent flooding … jump on this opportunity before it’s too late!