Tag Archives: Archaeology

Wild Archaeology: Jacob goes on an underwater archaeological expedition!

This week on Wild Archaeology,  we visit an area I am very familiar with: Lake Huron and Georgian Bay. Dr. Rudy and Jacob are off for a scuba diving adventure below the Great Lakes to explore the landscape that revealed itself during times of low water. Jacob’s first dive reveals evidence of waterfalls, far below the lake’s surface near Tobermory, Ont.

Oral history in the region speaks of the Prehistoric Alpena Amberly Ridge which was at one time used by migrating Caribou. Jacob grabs the opportunity to dive in this area as well and sees first-hand the remains of drive lane complexes, proving credible what  oral history has spoken of for generations. During his dive, Jacob collects flake indicative of tool sharpening.

As Dr. Rudy and his team have moved across Turtle Island in this series, they are seeing a “clear pattern between researchers and Indigenous peoples that there is no dichotomy between prehistory and history. Really what we are looking at across this vast landscape is deep history. The lines of evidence that Indigenous people and scientists, archaeologists and many others can bring to the table are only going to add to that, allow us to better understand the past.”

More and more Geomythology (geological occurances documented in myth and legend) is linking oral history with archaeology, providing clues and context to artifacts found in scientific digs. This discipline is also bridging that academic gap between what academia deems as knowledge and what Indigenous peoples have always known is knowledge.

Another really strong episode this week. This is such a great instrument for social studies in classrooms across Canada. As a teacher, with each episode I watch, my head spins with possible lesson plans that would excite children to learn more about Canada’s rich history.

Wild Archaeology airs Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m. ET on APTN.

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APTN’s Wild Archaeology entertains and educates

Dr. Rudy Reimer of Simon Fraser University provides the context of APTN’s Wild Archaeology in the cold open. He is establishing a bridge of understanding between settler nation knowledge and traditional Indigenous knowledge.

Settlers, or mainstream society, demands scientific or documented proof in order for knowledge to have any value or basis. However,  knowledge in Indigenous culture is passed through oral history and storytelling.

Dr. Reimer immediately states, after he introduces himself in the traditional way, “Early on it struck me, what my grandfather and grandma told me in the stories they told me, that were passed down to them, they were actually true, because I saw the physical evidence through the artifacts, in the very locations in the mountains they were pointing to when they told me their stories.” He is taking the traditional knowledge and using it to find the scientific proof! And, we get to go along!

In the premiere episode, hosts Jacob Pratt and Jenifer Brousseau—along with Dr. Reimer—travel into the high country of Squamish Nation, B.C., 2,000 metres above sea level and far above the tree line. Dr. Reimer has learned from local Squamish Elders of a site he had yet to explore for ancient artifacts.

We follow their hike and experience the stunning scenery of Squamish Nation in their quest to find their physical proof and discover the pictograph of a Thunderbird drawn on the side of a mountain. With the aid of animation, Dr. Reimer shares the story of the Thunderbird as told to him by his grandparents. We learn, through the shared discussions, of the similarities between traditional stories despite vast geographical distances.

Their quest continues in search of the obsidian artifacts in connection to the stories of the Thunderbird. Dr. Reimer demonstrates a few archaeological techniques in their pursuit, and eventually Jenifer finds a significant artifact. The obsidian samples found date back more than 6,000 years.

I have to be honest, I was really surprised by Wild Archaeology. This was not at all what I was expecting in a docu-series. If every episode is as strong as this introductory one, this will be a fantastic mechanism to drive home the power Indigenous knowledge keepers have. The message is clear: there is a real need to engage young people today with the knowledge contained in oral histories. Wild Archaeology explores those connections, between traditional knowledge and science, something that is key to reconciliation between cultures.

As a teacher, I urge parents to sit down with your children and watch! You will learn about the rich history and geography Canada has to offer and all of you will be entertained!

Wild Archaeology airs Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m. ET on APTN.

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