Shortly before Christmas 2013 the District of Barriere sewage collection contractor, Lower Nicola Backhoe, began work on the Statutory Right of Way over the Crown lands lying to the northeast of the corner of Station and Airfield Roads along the old airstrip.
The District of Barriere had applied for and been given Statutory Right of Way over these Crown lands. During the Statutory application process Simpcw First Nation requested that the District of Barriere hire a person to provide archeological monitoring. Estsek’ Environmental Services was recommend by Simpcw First Nation to provide this service and was subsequently hired by the District of Barriere.
On Dec. 19, 2013, a small lithic chip, the size of a dime, was discovered by the archeological monitor in one of the excavated piles. It was removed to the Simpcw First Nation offices. The project was due to shut down for the holiday season and for safety reasons the excavation was back-filled for the holidays.
Archaeologists use the term ‘lithics’ to refer to artifacts made of stone. Tiny lithic chips or flakes of stone, called debitage, result from the construction of those artifacts.
At the request of the District of Barriere an archaeologist from Terra Archaeology Ltd. came to the area on Tuesday, Jan. 7, to meet with representatives from the District of Barriere, Simpcw First Nation and the contractor doing the work. The authenticity of the lithic chip presented was confirmed.
The site could now be considered a potential archaeological site, and further to that possibility any alteration to lands in the area may require a permit from the provincial government.
The archaeologist is now working with the Archaeological Branch of the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations to arrive at options for next steps.
The District of Barriere has provided any information on the project that may be helpful in determining the scope of any further archaeological work that may be required.
In order to pay respect to the possibility of this area being a potential archaeological site, further excavation work will not resume until the District of Barriere has reviewed the options for possible next steps provided by the Archaeological Branch of Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.
District of Barriere Mayor Bill Humphreys says work has stopped while the District works through the process involved.
“We are at a standstill,” said Humphreys, “And will proceed as soon as we know more.”