Hunting With a View: Excavations at the Hummingbird Creek Site (FaPx-1) in Alberta’s Central Rockies

In 2009, the Archaeological Survey of Alberta discovered the Hummingbird Creek Site (FaPx-1), an archaeological site rich in stone artifacts, animal remains, and hearth features, in Alberta’s central Rockies. The site resided on a high terrace above Hummingbird Creek and the South Ram River, an ideal location for observing the valley below. Radiocarbon dates from the site’s lower levels indicated it was occupied from between 2,500 – 2,400 years ago, and upper levels dated from 1,000 – 700 years ago. This past August, Timothy Allan (MA student at the University of British Columbia), members of the Archaeological Survey of Alberta, and the Red Deer Archaeological Society returned to FaPx-1 to complete excavations at the site. The team found atlatl (or throwing spear) projectile points, hide scrapers, stone tool debris (flakes), and animal bone. (more…)

From the Rocky Mountains to Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood

bruce-farad

Farad: The Electronic Voice, a reissue of late-career Haack songs from Stones Throw. Image: Stones Throw Records.

This weekend is Alberta Culture Days, a three-day province-wide celebration of Alberta’s vibrant and diverse arts and culture communities. Originally created in 2008 as a one-day event called Alberta Arts Day, Alberta Culture Days has become the flagship autumnal arts celebration for people of all ages and interests. Thousands of events will take place this weekend all over Alberta.

When it comes to the music community, many people are likely familiar with famous Alberta musicians whose long careers and commercial success have led them to worldwide acclaim. Ian Tyson and k.d. lang come to mind, as well as more contemporary artists like Feist, Corb Lund, Cadence Weapon and Purity Ring. However, there is one person in particular whose influence on music is only now being fully understood, decades after his death in 1988. His name is Bruce Haack and he grew up in Rocky Mountain House, Alberta. Looking back on his career and musical output, you wouldn’t be far off in thinking that maybe this man was the living embodiment of the concept of, “way ahead of his time.” (more…)

An Archaeologist’s Perspective on Truth and Heritage

An Archaeologist’s Perspective on Truth and Heritage

Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission formed to address the residential school experience of First Nations; an Alberta symposium about the commission ended with the question “how can society spread the message of reconciliation”? As an archaeologist, my answer started with a collection of religious medallions found in a garden in northern Alberta and ended with a story about spiritual change, the value of heritage objects, and the powerful roles that historians and archaeologists can play in portraying the past.

Medallions in a Meadow

A small, yellow box of Roman Catholic medallions from the 1800s seemed unusual company next to the stone arrowheads in my office. They popped up in a garden next to a First Nations community along Meander River in northwest Alberta. During a site visit, community members shared the collection in the hopes that I could in turn help share the story of the medallions.

Roman Catholic medallions from the 1800s found in northwest Alberta. The medallions are symbols of a time when Christianity was spreading among First Nations communities.

Research revealed that the metal medallions mark an era when Christianity was evolving from a source of curiosity in the early 1800s to a defining cultural element among many Indigenous people in northern Alberta. New spiritual elements replaced others, hybridized with traditional beliefs, or were rejected. Like leaves of the surrounding carrots and parsnips, the garden medallions are a glimpse, or a surface expression, of the important roots of a story, in this case, a tale of syncretism or spiritual blending. By offering an archaeological view of the connection (more…)

The Alberta Historical Resources Foundation Looking for New Board Members

Do you want to be part of a vibrant heritage board or do you know someone who might be interested? The Alberta Historical Resources Foundation (AHRF), the primary source of the Government of Alberta funding for heritage projects, is currently accepting applications to fill in four board director positions.

Founded in 1973, AHRF has grown into a complex agency that serves a wide range of stakeholders. Board members are appointed for a term of up to three years. Board meetings are held four times a year for approximately 1.5 days. Board members are also occasionally asked to attend heritage events on behalf of the Foundation.

For details on the position profile and to apply online, please visit https://www.alberta.ca/public-agency-opportunity.cfm?appt=484 . The competition will close on September 24, 2017.

Help us continue to carry on the tradition of a vibrant and competent board. Help us ensure the preservation and promotion of Alberta’s heritage.

Wainwright Hotel

This post was originally published on RETROactive on August 2, 2011. The last paragraph is an addition from another blog post featuring the Wainwright Hotel, New Uses for Old Places – The Wainwright Hotel, published on March 20, 2014.

When the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway completed its line between Saskatoon and Edmonton in 1908, vast tracts of land in east central Alberta south of the Canadian Northern line were opened up for homesteading.  At key points along the line, the GTP erected stations and subdivided townsites. One of these was near a small community called Denwood, where a post office and store had been opened in 1907. The new townsite, to where Denwood residents and businesses now moved, was called Wainwright, after the second vice-president of the GTP. One of the structures moved from Denwood to Wainwright was the Denwood Hotel, which soon became the Wainwright Hotel. It was owned by M.L. Forster, a strong community minded individual who served on the first village council and was mayor of the Town of Wainwright from 1927 to 1935. (more…)

One-room Schoolhouses in Alberta: where early public education began

The image of the one-room schoolhouse is recognizable to many communities across Alberta. Fortunately, there are a few of these structures still existing that help to illustrate the origins of public education in Alberta. In this article, we will look at the development and decline of the one-room schoolhouse and the building features that make this structure such a unique example of built heritage. The schoolhouses that will be discussed here are the Shilo School, Verdun School and Chailey School. These particular buildings have been restored, indicating the public interest and historical significance of these structures to their community.

A typical one-room schoolhouse was where one teacher would instruct boys and girls of all ages and grades. Attendance to the school could range from just a few to almost one hundred. This type of early public education was common across Canada from the late nineteenth century into the early twentieth century. In Alberta, the first one-room schoolhouse was built in Edmonton in 1881. Many more schoolhouses were erected throughout the province in the years that followed, the majority of which consisted of one room. By 1910, Alberta had 1,501 school districts operating 1,195 schools, the majority of which were located in rural areas.

Edmonton 1881 School (Erin Hoar).

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Alberta Historical Resources Foundation’s next grant application deadline: September 1st

If you happen to visit a restored heritage property; come across a heritage plaque or marker; or read a community history book, chances are the project was supported by the Alberta Historical Resources Foundation.

As the Government of Alberta’s primary window for heritage preservation funding, the Foundation’s Heritage Preservation Partnership Program provides matching grants and scholarships to support initiatives that preserve and interpret Alberta’s rich heritage. The next grant intake is just around the corner. Next application deadline is September 1st.

If you wish to know more about the program or access the guidelines and application forms, please visit www.culturetourism.alberta.ca/ahrf or contact the Program Coordinator at Carina.Naranjilla@gov.ab.ca or 780-431-2305 (toll-free by first dialling 310-0000).