This summer students from Hamilton and Selkirk Colleges have returned to work at the Slocan Narrows archaeological Site, north of Lemon Creek in the Slocan Valley, carefully excavating portions of several pithouses at the village. Under the direction of Hamilton College’s Nathan Goodale and Alissa Nauman students have been on-site further exploring the village that was founded around 1000 BC. This is the fifth field school held at this site since 2000.
On Sunday, July 12 the field school, in partnership with the Slocan Valley Heritage Trail Society, is once again hosting an open house at the site with small-group informative lectures and guided tours of the site. The open house takes place between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. with new guided tours beginning every 20 minutes or so.
This will be the fourth open house since 2009, and each event draws a larger and larger crowd wishing to learn more about this important cultural resource. A suggested donation of $10 will cover a barbecue lunch to be served by the Slocan Valley Heritage Trail Society with proceeds going towards future signage detailing the history of the site.
Radiocarbon dating of all the pithouses in the village indicates that it occupied between 3,100 years ago fairly continuously until around the time of European contact. This year’s excavations continue to explore the floors of three pithouses to search for more clues as to how many people might have lived and what activities took place inside the houses during different occupations of the village. Were the pithouses occupied only once, or rebuilt several times? Was there ceremonial aspects to pithouse use or strictly residential? These and many other questions may be answered by what is found this year.
To get to the site, park at the Slocan Valley Rail Trail’s Lemon Creek trailhead, about eight kilometers south of Slocan. The trailhead is well signed from Highway 6. Walk or cycle north along the Slocan Valley Rail Trail and allow 15 minutes from the time you park to walk to the site. Please bring water, use sunscreen and be patient, as this is a popular event. Further information may be obtained at slocanvalleyrailtrail.ca or by calling 1-888-683-SVRT.