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.