By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: May 26, 2012
The historic bowl and pestle found by geoscientist Pierre Friele are more than 1600 years old, carbon dating has revealed.
“It’s 1610, plus or minus 20 years,” said archaeologist Rudy Reimer.
Rudy Reimer is a professor of First Nations history and archaeology at SFU, and has a special interest in Squamish Nation history.
Reimer and Friele were anxiously waiting to hear from a lab in California.
Reimer said numerous fields of science use radiocarbon dating to acquire age estimates of the places, sites and materials.
Radiocarbon dating, however, only works on organic materials, such as bone, shell, wood, charcoal.
Squamish Nation Chief Ian Campbell said the Squamish Nation community is excited about the discovery.
“We are very well pleased to hear about the discovery and its historical context,” Campbell said.
The Squamish Nation would help offset some of the cost associated with carbon dating the material, he added.
“We have spoken with Squamish Lillooet Cultural Centre and they have indicated positive response in showcasing this,” he added.
Reimer said his next step would be to submit an article about the discovery and its context in a national academic journal such as the American Antiquity or Canadian Journal of Archaeology.
The paper would include cultural information about the village, the changes in the course of the Squamish River, the nature and age of the bowl and associated artifacts to create a detailed interpretation about the bowl’s use.
Reimer said he suspects the bowl was used in ceremonies for connections to the spirit world.
Friele stumbled upon the prehistoric bowl and two cobble pestles while guiding a student researcher who was studying sediments along the Squamish River last month.
He found the bowl in a bank along the Squamish River, in an area opposite creek mouth flowing from Lake Lovely water.
“It’s just amazing,” said a beaming Friele.
“It’s not every day you find things that are thousands of years old.”