Senior archeologist Alan Korejbo from Canada North
Environmental Services was surveying the abandoned Cayzor
Athabasca Mine, two kilometres northwest of Uranium City, when
a glint of something protruding from the dirt caught his eye. He’d
found a projectile point lying on the ground on the shore of Jean
Lake that was uncovered during earthwork at the site.
“Although archaeologists develop a sharp eye to detect such
things, the moment one discovers a pristine artifact that has like-ly
lain dormant over several millennia is almost always surreal,” said
Korejbo. “The imagination begins to take over, trying to determine
what this person was doing here. How did they live? What did they
eat? What did their family or group look like? These are some very
important cultural questions.”
Additional assessments included digging small test pits in the ar-eas
disturbed by construction.
“After the discovery, we surveyed the site’s surface to see if fur-ther
heritage resources, such as stone tools or features like fire
hearths or stone cairns were visible on the surface,” said Korejbo.
“We didn’t find any other heritage resources, and the site was accu-rately
mapped and recorded.”
In addition, the archeologists excavated several square holes
about 60 centimetres deep by hand, a process called shovel testing.
“We wanted to see if further heritage resources might be buried
at the site. We didn’t find any, but there’s a high potential for fur-ther
artifacts or features to be discovered at this site,” said Korejbo.
“We recommend further archaeological work if future development
might impact the site.”
The finely-crafted point, made of quartz, is approximately six cen-timetres
“This craftsmanship is typical of Northern Plains archeologi-cal
cultures,” said Korejbo. “The large neck width suggests this may
have been used as a lance, perhaps to spear large mammals as they
swam across the lake or at a buffalo pound. We did a comparative
analysis of the point’s form and manufacturing method, and the re-sults
suggest it may be approximately 5,500 to 7,500 years old.”
The Prince Albert Grand Council was consulted and they rec-ommended
the Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC) place some
tobacco where the artifact was found, as a gift for removing the ar-tifact.
The artifact has been transferred to the Royal Saskatchewan
Museum, which houses all artifacts found in Saskatchewan.
SRC shared information about the discovery with the communities
at meetings and in its newsletter. SRC also invited community lead-ers
to an archeological workshop held at its headquarters, which was
presented by Korejbo. These initiatives gave the communities an op-portunity
to ask questions and learn more about how the site survey
was conducted and how the artifact would be preserved.
“Archaeological sites are notoriously difficult to detect in the
north due to the relatively sparse nature of northern sites and dense
vegetation cover,” said Korejbo. “Although development does have
the potential to disturb or destroy sites, projects such as Project
CLEANS can also help us discover and protect valuable heritage
Not only is remediating the land helping to remove environmen-tal
and safety risks, it’s creating an opportunity to increase the odds
of an archeological site discovery.
“If sites are discovered, we can assess their interpretive value
and determine if further archaeological mitigation or protection is
needed,” said Korejbo.
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