Regina Archaeological Society

Sub­mit­ted by William Long

His­to­ry and Objec­tives of the Regi­na Archae­o­log­i­cal Asso­ci­a­tion

The Regi­na Archae­o­log­i­cal Asso­ci­a­tion was orig­i­nal­ly formed to exca­vate Last Moun­tain House, a Hudson’s Bay Com­pa­ny fur trade post. The post had been occu­pied for a peri­od of time in the ear­ly 1870s. In 1965 there was con­cern because the con­struc­tion of a high­way had bare­ly missed the site. An adja­cent grav­el pit was also threat­en­ing to destroy the area. All that was vis­i­ble at that time were a few mounds which turned out to be the remains of fire place chim­neys. A depres­sion turned out to be the remains of an ice house.

On most sum­mer week­ends for six years from 1965 to 1969 the mem­bers care­ful­ly exca­vat­ed the site. The out­li­nes of the foun­da­tions of build­ings were locat­ed. Some 20,000 arti­facts were cat­a­loged.

The site has now been declared a Provin­cial His­toric Site. It is locat­ed a few miles north of Lums­den, Saskatchewan, on Num­ber 20 High­way. Build­ings have been con­struct­ed on the loca­tion to rep­re­sent, as close­ly as pos­si­ble, the actu­al sit­u­a­tion that exist­ed when the site was occu­pied.

The results of this project have been doc­u­ment­ed in a book Last Moun­tain House, A Hudson’s Bay Com­pa­ny Out­post in the Qu’Appelle Val­ley by Olga Klimko and John Hodges.

Since then mem­bers of the RAS have been vol­un­teer par­tic­i­pants in many exca­va­tions through­out Saskatchewan. The­se have includ­ed:

  • Detail­ing the loca­tion of the build­ings that com­prised Fort Qu’Appelle
  • The search for Fort Chester­field
  • Fort Pel­ly
  • Oxbow Pre­his­toric site
  • Heron Eden site near Lead­er
  • Chim­ney Coulee site at Eas­t­end
  • Sal­vage archae­ol­o­gy at Fort Wal­sh in the Cypress Hills

The objec­tives of the Regi­na Archae­o­log­i­cal Soci­ety, as detailed in our con­sti­tu­tion, are as fol­lows:

  • To afford a con­ve­nient and ben­e­fi­cial asso­ci­a­tion of per­sons inter­est­ed in archae­ol­o­gy;
  • To pro­mote the preser­va­tion of the archae­o­log­i­cal her­itage of Saskatchewan through con­ser­va­tion of sites, objects and data;
  • To pro­mote the use of archae­o­log­i­cal meth­ods;
  • To provide dis­sem­i­na­tion of infor­ma­tion;
  • To encour­age edu­ca­tion in the field of archae­ol­o­gy.

RAS Gen­er­al Pro­gram

The RAS has two main cat­e­gories of pro­grams. One is to enable mem­bers to learn about archae­ol­o­gy and par­tic­i­pate in archae­o­log­i­cal activ­i­ties. The sec­ond is to inform the pub­lic about archae­ol­o­gy and the impor­tance of pre­serv­ing our archae­o­log­i­cal her­itage.

Some exam­ples of pro­grams for mem­bers include:

  • Six meet­ings per year, dur­ing the fall, win­ter and spring, where speak­ers talk about var­i­ous aspects of archae­ol­o­gy in Saskatchewan and around the world.
  • 10 issues of our newslet­ter, TheCatlin­ite Tabloid.
  • Archae­o­log­i­cal activ­i­ties includ­ing field trips to sites of inter­est, oppor­tu­ni­ties to par­tic­i­pate in archae­o­log­i­cal site sur­veys and exca­va­tions and lab­o­ra­to­ry analy­ses.

We have also pub­lished a book, Fort Pel­ly Jour­nal of Dai­ly Occur­rences.

Some exam­ples of our pro­grams for the gen­er­al pub­lic include:

  • Pub­lic events such as the annu­al Fes­ti­val of Ancient Tech­nol­o­gy.
  • Par­tic­i­pa­tion with Saskatchewan Envi­ron­ment and Resource Man­age­ment in A day in the life of a Hudson’s Bay Fur Trad­ing Post at Last Moun­tain House.
  • Sem­i­nars about archae­ol­o­gy in Saskatchewan.

The RAS became a chap­ter of the SAS in 1980 and despite a few years of chal­lenges, we con­tin­ue to be a strong chap­ter in south­east Saskatchewan.

The cur­rent Chap­ter Rep­re­sen­ta­tive for the Regi­na Archae­o­log­i­cal Soci­ety is Jack Trusty.

I was in Grade 4 when I first began learn­ing about Native Stud­ies. A mon­th or two lat­er, I was out chas­ing gophers when I came upon a lit­tle mound of sand, made by the gopher dig­ging his home. Not in it, but lying right on top of this mound was a per­fect quartz arrow­head, as though it was placed there just for me. That did it! I have been addict­ed ever since. For some rea­son the sight of this beau­ti­ful arti­fact has made me most inter­est­ed in the lithic aspect of archae­ol­o­gy. I enjoy flintk­nap­ping, and have done many demon­stra­tions at var­i­ous events over the years.

I have had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to dig at Lake Mid­den, Oxbow, Chim­ney Coulee, Dog Child site, and the most won­der­ful sum­mer of my life was spent on a Neolithic site in Jor­dan. I have served as the Regi­na Archae­o­log­i­cal Soci­ety Chap­ter Pres­i­dent and as a Mem­ber-at-Large with the SAS for many years. My wife Alice and I have been able to trav­el with SAS mem­bers on bus and study tours, most recent­ly to Eng­land, France and Hol­land. It helps that Alice plans the tours, and I just go along for the ride!

To con­tact the RAS, vis­it their Face­book page.