Vancouver’s ancient history in new shows
Photo: Courtesy UBC Laboratory of Archaeology and the Musqueam Indian Band, Vancouver.
"Carved bone depicting a happy face"
Little is known about this carved bone depicting a happy face unearthed in 1931.
Two cultural institutions – the Museum of Vancouver and UBC’s Museum of Anthropology – are teaming up with the Musqueam First Nation to explore the region’s early history in a project that features three distinct exhibitions.
c̓әsnaʔəm, the city before the city will allow visitors to learn more about one of the region’s largest ancient village and burial sites, first occupied some 5,000 years ago.
“People often think of Vancouver as a new city, when in fact it is one of the most significant sites of ancient cultures in Canada – one that has even been compared to other societies such as the Egyptian and Roman societies,” says co-curator Terry Point.
Over the last century, archaeologists, collectors and treasure hunters have removed artifacts and ancestral remains from the site, near the mouth of the Fraser River. The area, designated as a National Historic Site in 1933, is crossed by roads, railways and bridges. Nevertheless, it remains important to the Musqueam community, which held a long vigil in 2012 to halt a proposed condominium development after ancestral remains were unearthed.
The exhibitions, which open simultaneously on Jan. 25, include maps, videos, artifacts, soundscapes and oral histories.