March 7th, 2018 ~ Vol. 89 No. 10
Stones and Bones event seeks to unearth history
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Pass Herald Reporter
Do you have any stones and bones hiding in your closet? If so, be sure to bring them to the Archeological Society of Alberta’s Stones and Bones event on March 24 and 25 at the Frank Slide Interpretive Centre.
The association’s Lethbridge centre is inviting people to bring any artifacts they may have found or collected to help them form a more complete picture of the area’s history.

“Stones and Bones is a way for us to reach out to local collectors, farmers, ranchers and hikers that might have privately held collections of artifacts,” says Rachel Lindemann, president of the association. “This is a way for us to see what’s been found in the area because a lot of times, farmers and ranchers and hikers get to explore a much wider range of areas than we do. This opens the door for us to better understand the movements of First Nations and early settlers in the area.”

Objects of interest include items modified by humans like arrowheads, bone, fossils or rocks that may have cultural significance.

“We’re looking for anything of interest that people have collected and picked up along the way through the years,” says Lindemann.
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The society is not looking to acquire any collections, so people will leave with whatever they bring to the event.

“The idea is a shared understanding of what is going on in the areas. The idea isn’t that we’re trying to take their artifacts from them and put them into a museum. The most we’ll do is take photos,” says Lindemann. “This is a way for us to see what’s out there, but also for [the guests] to understand their collections better.”

Along with archeologists, a paleontologist and geologist will be present to help date and identify some of the artifacts.

The Lethbridge Centre of the Archeological Society of Alberta hosts Stones and Bones events every two years, and the past two have been in Coaldale. The society is branching out to hosting events in other parts of Southern Alberta.

“We’d like to start roaming around a bit more so that everyone gets a chance to have their questions answered and we get a better understanding of more areas than just the Lethbridge and Coaldale area,” says Lindemann.

At events in past years, Lindemann says guests have shared items like rare fossils, pottery and projectile points, some dating as far back as 5,000 and 8,000 years ago.

“We don’t get to see a lot of that sort of stuff because it’s scattered sparsely throughout Alberta. That helps us understand where some of the earliest campsites might have been,” she says.

Through these Stones and Bones events, Lindemann says the society has learned that sites may not always be where archeologists think they are.
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“A lot of times, we’ll check places like river crossings based on how far we think people will travel to collect water or food resources each day, but what we’re finding is that we may not be giving them enough credit. Sites are farther back from water sources, so it’s helping us rethink where we see people in the past having occupied and that sites might be hiding in places we’re not thinking to look,” she says.

As for Crowsnest Pass, she says she has “no idea” what to expect in terms of artifacts, but is confident there is potential for some interesting finds.

“There’s some very cool stuff from mountain sites, like there are some cool areas in the Chert Quarry. We know that the First Nations were definitely there, but I’m also hoping that there are some cool historic collections. There’s such a rich mining history in that area that somebody must have some cool stuff,” she says.

Stones and Bones will take place in the main lobby at the Frank Slide Interpretive Center from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on March 24 and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on March 25.

The event is free and there will be activities for families and children to take part in, like a teepee to explore, excavation dig boxes, a traditional clay pot-making station and other stations.

“We will also have some collections from our members at the society, so there will be things to look at, even if [the public] doesn’t have anything to bring in,” adds Lindemann. “It’s something fun to come out and do with your kids for an afternoon.”

For more information, visit the Facebook page for the event titled “Stones and Bones Weekend.”
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March 7th, 2018 ~ Vol. 89 No. 10
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