B.C. archeological site offers look at gardening 3,800 years ago
Submerged rock pavement feature from the garden area. Pink string indicates boundary of two metre by two metre excavation unit and the trowel tip is oriented north. (Source: Katzie Development Limited Partnership)
The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, December 21, 2016 2:19PM EST
PITT MEADOWS, B.C. - Archeologists have found that First Nations along Canada's west coast were tending wetland gardens as far back as 38-hundred years ago.
An excavation project run by an archeological firm owned by the Katzie First Nation in B.C.'s Lower Mainland has unearthed evidence that the nation's ancestors engineered the wetland environment to increase agricultural yields.
Their crop was the wapato, a semi-aquatic tuber that provided an important source of starch over the winter months.
The information, published online in Science Advances, says excavators found a platform of closely packed flat stones that would have sat under a few metres underwater preventing the tuber from moving downward.
Debbie Miller, with the archeological team, says the site is as important to the Katzie people as any wonder of the world, from the Egyptian pyramids to Machu Picchu.
She says the project gave many young members of the Katzie community a way to connect with their ancestry.
But she also said the findings were bittersweet, because the site has since been paved over for a public road.