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

Stetski talks up NDP election platform

NDP candidate for Kootenay-Columbia riding outlines election ‘commitments’ to Canadian voters

Abra Brynne wins Kootenay-Columbia Green Party nomination

Brynne is one of three candidates who will challenge MP Wayne Stetski

Golden’s weekly news recap

This week’s top stories

MP warns of scam after catching Facebook Messenger imposter account

Wayne Stetski issues warning about an imposter messenger account that is using his profile photo

VIDEO: B.C. MLA Michelle Stilwell takes first steps in nearly 30 years

‘It actually felt like walking. It’s been 27 years… but it felt realistic to me’

Report of dead body in B.C. park actually headless sex doll

This discovery, made at Manning Park on July 10, led police to uncovering two other sex mannequins

Grand Forks fire chief found to have bullied, harassed volunteer firefighter: report

WorkSafeBC, third-party human resources investigation looking into allegations complete

Dog recovering after being drenched in hot coffee, B.C. man charged

Man was taken into custody, charged, and released pending a court date

Taekwondo instructor, 21, identified as B.C. bat rabies victim

Nick Major, 21, an instructor at Cascadia Martial Arts in Parksville

Science expedition to Canada’s largest underwater volcano departs Vancouver Island

Crews prepared for a two-week research mission to the Explorer Seamount

B.C. shipyard to get one-third of $1.5 billion frigate-repair contract

The federal government has promised to invest $7.5 billion to maintain the 12 frigates

Worried about bats? Here’s what to do if you come across one in B.C.

Bat expert with the BC Community Bat Program urges caution around the small creatures

B.C. on right road with tougher ride-hailing driver rules, says expert

The provincial government is holding firm that ride-hailing drivers have a Class 4 licence

Most Read