Last week on Wild Archaeology, we left off at the Little John site and Jacob had just broken his freshly-found artifact: an 11,000-year-old piece of bone. OOPS!
We begin this week’s adventure learning Dr. Norm Easton and his team have found artifacts at this sub-arctic dig site estimated to be between 11 and 12,000 years old—more than twice as old as the pyramids of Egypt. What is singularly unique with this particular dig site is Dr. Easton’s approach. Not only is he an archaeologist, but he is an ethnographer. As a result of his loyalty to White River First Nation, he has gained the people’s trust and been formally adopted into the family for whom the dig site is named. The community has his back.
A significant chunk of Tuesday’s instalment focuses on culture: regaining, establishing and maintaining connections to traditional culture. We also get a glimpse into Jenifer and Jacob’s connections to their own cultures through song and stories as we begin to get acquainted with our hosts.
Dr. Rudy and Dr. Easton discuss how they believe ancestors of White River First Nation experienced the land and utilized the resources available to them. Trails still exist that were used millennia ago, the ground still hard-packed beneath overgrown vegetation. Jenifer and Jacob demonstrate the use of atlatls. Acting essentially as arm extenders, these tools serve to amplify the force of a spear throw. Using their ingenuity, these ancient people created technology from the materials they had available in order to hunt the mega fauna.
On the artifact discovery side of things, Jacob finds the remains of an 11,000-year-old bison bone that was subjected to an impact fracture, indicative of human interaction with the local fauna. I think that makes these two tied for interesting finds.
I cannot help it, I know I am a broken record but I have to repeat myself. I LOVE THIS SHOW. One of the perks of reviewing is that networks supply us with advanced screeners. So what did I do? I binge-watched the whole season last week despite having other work to do (a thesis thing I have looming). That same day, I also shared a brief conversation with co-host Jenifer Brousseau and we chatted about her own experience as she tunes in to watch.
“I’m glad they’re capturing our authentic journey, of what really was a powerful journey of reclamation,” she said. “There was something spiritual that took place, to touch these artifacts and be a part of history. Seeing the beauty of my ancestry and the strength and resilience of my ancestors.”
Wild Archaeology airs Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m. ET on APTN.