Evidence of Stone Age fish trap found in Ontario Artifacts linked to one of the oldest aboriginal sites in North America
- Evidence of Stone Age fish trap found in Ontario Artifacts linked to one of the oldest aboriginal sites in North America
Randy Boswell Canwest News Service
Friday, January 30, 2004
OTTAWA -- Two startling archeological finds, just a kilometre apart near Peterborough, Ont., have university researchers and federal scientists combing over what appears to be one of the oldest aboriginal sites in North America.
A team of Parks Canada archeologists has found evidence of a 6,650-year-old fish-trapping system at the bottom of Lovesick Lake, the earliest of its kind ever discovered and nearly 2,000 years older than a similar wooden trap that has been declared a National Historic Site.
Barely a stone's throw away, a Trent University anthropologist has unearthed a host of ancient artifacts -- including a 12,500-year-old arrowhead -- that will add Burleigh Falls to a handful of known Stone Age sites inhabited by the first occupants of Canada.
The discoveries were made in cottage country about 25 kilometres north of Peterborough near Petroglyphs Provincial Park, home to the largest concentration of native rock carvings in Canada.
The oldest petroglyphs are believed to be about 1,200 years old. But the latest finds make clear that aboriginal people began living in the area soon after the retreat of the glaciers and created a complex and enduring culture along what is known today as the Trent-Severn Waterway.
A key figure in both discoveries is Kris Nahrgang, chief of the Kawartha Nishnawbe First Nation and a Trent archeology student. In an era when science and aboriginal heritage are more likely to clash than converge, Nahrgang's interest in exploring native archeological sites has yielded treasures for both.
"It's very, very exciting," says Nahrgang, 48. "These two sites are so close together. There's stuff all the way through this area but nobody's realized how big this is."
Nahrgang and a small group of divers first saw signs of a fish trap at Lovesick Lake in 1999. They found four wooden stakes sticking up from the lakebottom like a row of fenceposts, the kind of arrangement you would expect in an ancient fishing weir.
North American natives erected these underwater fences to herd spawning fish into shallow pools where they could be easily speared or netted. One of the world's best examples is Mnjikaning Fish Weir at the north end of Lake Simcoe, about 100 kilometres west of Lovesick Lake.
Â© The Vancouver Sun 2004
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