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

Warm ‘blob’ could be behind mass starvation of North Pacific seabirds: Study

Unprecedented death toll raises red flag for North American marine ecosystems

Power lines cut as thieves strike Parksville veterinary hospital

‘Thankfully there weren’t any animals or staff in the clinic when this happened’

Nanaimo mom will celebrate 40th in style after $500,000 lotto win

Crystal Giesbrecht matches all four numbers on BC/49 Extra

Vancouver Island woman files sexual harassment suit against former Mountie

Former RCMP officer Brian Mathew Burkett is also being sued by two other women for sexual harassment

Vancouver Island lighthouse keeper wins a million bucks playing the lottery

“I usually just get a quick pick, so I didn’t expect to win a big prize”

VIDEO: Soldiers trade rifles for snow shovels to help dig out St. John’s

A state of emergency is set to extend into a fifth day

Saanich Police ask for help locating missing high-risk youth

Robyn Coker-Steel has not been in contact with anyone from her home since Dec. 27

Former Sidney mayor calls on local MLA Adam Olsen to resign over ferry blockade

Olsen has rejected the demand, calling Price’s language divisive and responsible for polarization

Six boat wrecks wash up on Cadboro Bay beaches over the weekend

Dead Boat Society working with Oak Bay, Saanich to clear derelict boats

Tech consortium invests $25 million into 14 research projects, two at UVic

Investments come with goal of developing, implement technologies created by Canadians

Vic High alumni named Victoria’s new Youth Poet Laureate

Neko Smart, the founder and coach of the Vic High slam poetry team, will serve a one-year term

Photographer captures Port Alberni personalities in black and white portraits

Meet John Douglas, Courtney Naesgaard in double until Feb. 8 at Rollin Art Centre

ICBC to bring in ranking system for collision, glass repair shops

Change comes after the much-maligned auto insurer has faced criticism for sky-high premiums

Vancouver Island Pride weekend returns to Mount Washington Alpine Resort

Building on the success of last year’s family-friendly pride festival on Vancouver… Continue reading

Most Read