A Hat Makers Bone Tool

Introduction Many of the artifacts recovered by archaeologists have no ethnographic counterpart in museum collections. Most Indigenous ethnographic artifacts are made of wood. Rarer examples of bone or antler artifacts in ethnographic collections, with documentation, become important to help identify the use of some archaeological artifacts. The Bone Tool One unique artifact, in the Indigenous collections of the Royal B.C. Museum, is a bone tool described as a hat makers’ knife. The example was collected by Kwakwaka’wakw, George Hunt, in 1899, and sold to Charles Newcombe in 1901. Its ethnic origin is identified as Nahwitti, Kwakwaka’wakw. This artifact, number RBCM1252 (old #19074), was listed in the original catalogue by Charles Newcombe as: “Bone knife (Kwetani). Of the mountain goat. Used … Continue reading “A Hat Makers Bone Tool”

A Tsunami Spear Point

Polynesia to British Columbia By Grant Keddie. Introduction In 1972, I observed the pointed distal end of a broken wooded spear in the collection of the Royal B.C. Museum. Based on its general shape and design patterns, it appeared to be of Pacific Island origin. The wood was most like the Pacific hardwoods Calophyllum inophyllum or Acasia koa. At first, I assumed the artifact must have been buried with some more recent historic debris, but after observing the accession records and talking to the finder, a different picture began to emerge. It was found buried in Tsunami deposits in the Port Renfrew area on the west coast of Vancouver Island. This makes it the first known pre-contact Polynesian artifact found … Continue reading “A Tsunami Spear Point”

Mega Fauna Publication Abstracts with Grant Keddie as a co-author.

Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences. 2 May 2024. https://doi.org/10.1139/cjes-2023-0102 Survival of mammoths (Mammuthus sp.) into the Late Pleistocene in Southwestern British Columbia (Vancouver Island), Canada. Laura Termes, Grant Keddie, Richard Hebda, Pat Trask, Victoria Arbour, Camilla Speller, L. Paskulin, Chris Ramsey and Michael Richards. Abstract As part of a larger project identifying and directly radiocarbon dating Late Pleistocene megafaunal remains in British Columbia (B.C.), Canada we have confirmed the identity of many newly identified mammoth (Mammuthus sp.) specimens (n=32) from Vancouver Island in Southwestern B.C. We undertook radiocarbon dating on all specimens and were able to obtain dates (due to preservation) on 16 of these remains, including re-dating a previously dated mammoth using newer radiocarbon extraction methods. The mammoth dates … Continue reading “Mega Fauna Publication Abstracts with Grant Keddie as a co-author.”

The Usdis Stone

The use of this very heavy stone is unknown. It was collected from the old village of Usdis on Rivers Inlet in 1910. It has not been weighed, but I could barely lift it, and estimate it weighs about 200 lbs. There is no Indigenous source information of the use of this stone, but it would likely have been used for a ceremonial purpose. One suggested speculation is that in may have been used in a test of strength performance. The grooves on its side suggest that it was tied down, possibly on a wooden platform inside a house. It has a face like a mountain sheep and raven-like bird head designs carved on its sides. Provenance Charles Newcomb recorded … Continue reading “The Usdis Stone”

Mystery of the Songhees Memorial Poles

Two older memorial poles, once on the New Songhees Reserve, have contradictory information about their provenience. Who carved them? One was originally owned by the Songhees Councilor William Roberts (1894-1938) and the other by the Chief Michael Cooper (1864-1936). The William Roberts Pole This pole is in the Royal B.C. Museum collection with two numbers. RBCM Ethnology # 5043 is the main pole, and RBCM #5051 is the eagle carving that was once on top of RBCM # 5043. It was purchased from Songhees Band member Alice James in 1940. The Report of the Provincial Museum of Natural History For the Year 1940 (1941:D14) refers to: ”By Purchase. Mrs. Alice James, Victoria. One totem-pole, 1 eagle figure”. Songhees Band member, … Continue reading “Mystery of the Songhees Memorial Poles”

Stone Masks and Stone Wearers

I have long thought that many of the seated human stone figures found in British Columbia are wearing masks. Some figures have faces that are a mixture of human and other animal features. Several of the stone figures are wearing what appear to be a mask separated from their facial area (Figures 5-9). I would also propose that there are small stone masks (Figures 1-3), with attachment holes on their sides, that were worn on some of the small stone figures. We need to consider that seated human stone and other stone ritual figures may be only one component of a ritual object, that included other components of perishable material such as wood, feathers or woven fibres, as well as … Continue reading “Stone Masks and Stone Wearers”

Stone Human Seated Figurine Bowls

Part 3. Cowichan to Courtney Part three includes 12 bowls from locations between Cowichan and Courtney on Vancouver Island, with a few close Gulf Islands included. This is not a complete listing, as there are a number of seated human stone bowls or fragments from private collections that are not included here. Some individuals with private collections, for various reasons, do not want their names made public. I have only included previous owner names here. Many of the images I have copied over the last 50 years from various sources for different purposes. The current location of some and the names of photographers is not known. Porlier Pass Bowl This bowl (Figure 1 & 2), is now in a private … Continue reading “Stone Human Seated Figurine Bowls”

Stone Human Seated Figure Bowls.  Part 2. North Saanich Peninsula

by Grant Keddie Preface for Part 2. Part 2, includes eight seated human figure bowls from the Saanich Peninsula north of Victoria on Vancouver Island. There are a few others from private collections believed to be from this general region that are not included here. The north Saanich Peninsula region, especially the area around Tsehum Harbour on the east side, was an important cultural centre in the past. There are several large archaeological shellmidden sites in Tsehum Harbour on the north side of the town of Sidney and a large shellmidden just to the south along Bazan Bay. Tsehum Harbour is an area protected from the weather as well as a location providing access to a diversity of local environments. … Continue reading “Stone Human Seated Figure Bowls.  Part 2. North Saanich Peninsula”

Stone Human Seated Figurine Bowls

Part 1. Victoria to Sooke. One of things I find fascinating is how humans have represented themselves in ancient times. In S. W. British Columbia and N. W. Washington State, stone seated human figurine bowls have been of most interest in this regard (Duff 1956; 1975; Carlson 1983; Keddie 1983; 2003; Wright 1991; Hanna 1996). These stone figures have been used in various kinds of rituals that will allow us to potentially observe regional differences and diffusion of cultures in the past. All cultures are influenced by their neighbours and these objects are one of the puzzle pieces that will allow us to reconstruct some of those ancient patterns of connection. The finding of most of these stone figures has … Continue reading “Stone Human Seated Figurine Bowls”

Francis Drake on the Northwest Coast of America. Introductory Notes. Part 1.

June 20, 2017. By Grant Keddie. Introduction Figure 1. Examples of the hundreds of books written about Sir Francis Drake. The Purpose of this article is to provide a background for those individuals who wish to understand more about the controversy regarding the voyage of Francis Drake to the Northwest Coast of North America. Where Drake landed on the Northwest Coast has been a subject of debate for over 170 years when it played a major role in the boundary settlement between Canada and the United States. Proper study of this topic would require the combined research of many experts in Spanish and English literary history, maritime history, First Nations cultures and language and the history of geography and map … Continue reading “Francis Drake on the Northwest Coast of America. Introductory Notes. Part 1.”