Max and Jayden Brewer. (Contributed)

Young boys find ancient stone tool at B.C. lake

Lower water line unearths artifact, likely from Katzie

Paul Brewer and his sons had never seen Alouette Lake so low – the water line a football field away from the usual summertime shoreline, revealing the normally submerged stumps from trees fallen decades earlier.

They did what boys confronted by the wonders of nature would do – went to skip rocks.

That’s when Paul’s six-year-old son Max made an exciting discovery.

“We are skimming stones, and he picked one up and said, ‘Is this a good skimmer?’” Paul recalled. “I said, ‘I don’t think we’re going to skip this one.’”

Max and his big brother Jayden, 9, felt like young Indiana Joneses after their find – a stone-age knife, with a smooth thumb insert to make it easier to grip.

“It fits your hand,” said Paul. “It feels like it’s been made to hold and scrape or cut things.”

Max couldn’t sleep for two nights.

Paul sent photos of their find to a UBC archaeologist, who confirmed it is an authentic stone tool that had been slightly damaged.

The archaeologist could not date it without seeing the tool in person.

The find raises a question about what people should do when they find such artifacts, and how significant they are.

“They are an indicator, and I’m happy to identify them,” said Val Patenaude, curator at the Maple Ridge Museum and a former archaeologist.

She said artifacts are most valuable in their original context.

However, she called the idea of people leaving artifacts in place until a site can be excavated “pie in the sky.” In the case of the Brewer boys, the site will be back under water in a matter of weeks.

Patenaude said the shores of Alouette Lake would have been busy with people in ancient times, as they travelled and camped close to waterways.

Before the watercourse was flooded for a B.C. Hydro dam, the lake would have been narrower, more of a wide spot in the river, and the stone knife found near what would have been the old shoreline – a good place for an archaeologist to dig.

“They were definitely in the right spot,” she said.

The entire Fraser River is an archaeological site, she added.

Patenaude worked on a large archaeological site before the Mary Hill Bypass was built. Some 40 people worked it over three summers, and they unearthed some 50,000 artifacts.

Patenaude said historic artifacts are the property of the nation that created them – in the case of the stone-age knife, likely the Katzie First Nation.

If people find a valuable artifact, returning them to the Katzie would be “a worthwhile thing to do.”

Patenaude and other historians ask that people not sell them because creating a market encourages more people to uncover precious artifacts on sites that should be left for professionals.

Paul said he will talk to his boys about giving the stone knife to the Katzie. He has also considered displaying it in a glass case and keeping it for his sons.

“It’s probably more important to them than to anyone else.”

 

(Contributed) The brothers found a stone-age knife. The brothers found a stone-age knife. (Contributed)

Just Posted

Don Currie, local athletes win medal haul at 55-plus B.C. Games

Slocan’s Currie took home seven gold medals in track and field

Local runners tackle Toad Mountain

The 25 kilometre and 50 km event took runners over the top of Toad Mountain

Leafs fall 5-1 to Thunder Cats

Nelson is winless through its first two games

Disability employment awareness month: open house and inclusive employer award

Events take place in Nelson and Castlegar this week

Leafs lose marathon season opener

Nelson fell 3-2 to Fernie in double overtime

VIDEO: Liberals make child care pledge, Greens unveil platform on Day 6 of campaign

Green party leader Elizabeth May unveils her party’s platform in Toronto

20 day search for missing Labradoodle in Princeton, B.C. ends with tears of joy

The search brought out bloodhounds, and groups hoping to find Mordy

Fewer trees, higher costs blamed for devastating downturn in B.C. forestry

Largest driving factor is the province’s complex stumpage system that results in high fees, expert says

Canucks sign Brock Boeser to three-year, US$17.6-million deal

Young sniper will be in Vancouver Tuesday

B.C. forest industry looks to a high-technology future

Restructuring similar to Europe 15 years ago, executive says

RCMP conclude investigation into 2017 Elephant Hill wildfire

Files have been turned over to BC Prosecution Service

B.C. wants to be part of global resolution in opioid company bankruptcy claim

Government says settlement must include Canadian claims for devastation created by overdose crisis

B.C. ends ‘birth alerts’ in child welfare cases

‘Social service workers will no longer share information about expectant parents without consent’

U.S. student, killed in Bamfield bus crash, remembered as ‘kind, intelligent, talented’

John Geerdes, 18, was one of two UVic students killed in the crash on Friday night

Most Read