Max and Jayden Brewer. (Contributed)

Young boys find ancient stone tool at B.C. lake

Lower water line unearths artifact, likely from Katzie

Paul Brewer and his sons had never seen Alouette Lake so low – the water line a football field away from the usual summertime shoreline, revealing the normally submerged stumps from trees fallen decades earlier.

They did what boys confronted by the wonders of nature would do – went to skip rocks.

That’s when Paul’s six-year-old son Max made an exciting discovery.

“We are skimming stones, and he picked one up and said, ‘Is this a good skimmer?’” Paul recalled. “I said, ‘I don’t think we’re going to skip this one.’”

Max and his big brother Jayden, 9, felt like young Indiana Joneses after their find – a stone-age knife, with a smooth thumb insert to make it easier to grip.

“It fits your hand,” said Paul. “It feels like it’s been made to hold and scrape or cut things.”

Max couldn’t sleep for two nights.

Paul sent photos of their find to a UBC archaeologist, who confirmed it is an authentic stone tool that had been slightly damaged.

The archaeologist could not date it without seeing the tool in person.

The find raises a question about what people should do when they find such artifacts, and how significant they are.

“They are an indicator, and I’m happy to identify them,” said Val Patenaude, curator at the Maple Ridge Museum and a former archaeologist.

She said artifacts are most valuable in their original context.

However, she called the idea of people leaving artifacts in place until a site can be excavated “pie in the sky.” In the case of the Brewer boys, the site will be back under water in a matter of weeks.

Patenaude said the shores of Alouette Lake would have been busy with people in ancient times, as they travelled and camped close to waterways.

Before the watercourse was flooded for a B.C. Hydro dam, the lake would have been narrower, more of a wide spot in the river, and the stone knife found near what would have been the old shoreline – a good place for an archaeologist to dig.

“They were definitely in the right spot,” she said.

The entire Fraser River is an archaeological site, she added.

Patenaude worked on a large archaeological site before the Mary Hill Bypass was built. Some 40 people worked it over three summers, and they unearthed some 50,000 artifacts.

Patenaude said historic artifacts are the property of the nation that created them – in the case of the stone-age knife, likely the Katzie First Nation.

If people find a valuable artifact, returning them to the Katzie would be “a worthwhile thing to do.”

Patenaude and other historians ask that people not sell them because creating a market encourages more people to uncover precious artifacts on sites that should be left for professionals.

Paul said he will talk to his boys about giving the stone knife to the Katzie. He has also considered displaying it in a glass case and keeping it for his sons.

“It’s probably more important to them than to anyone else.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

(Contributed) The brothers found a stone-age knife. The brothers found a stone-age knife. (Contributed)

Just Posted

Update: Coquihalla re-opens, after incident requiring a medevac

DriveBC warns of continued delays and congestion

COVID-19 case confirmed at restaurant in Cache Creek: Interior Health

Customers who visited the site from March 25 to 27 are asked to self-isolate

Shots fired in Abbotsford, but no victims or suspects found

Incident occurs Tuesday afternoon at Whatcom and Old Yale roads

Family medicine still available just different in the age of COVID-19

Local health officials send reminder that doctors are still providing care, by phone or video chat

Mayor reacts to suggestion to ship those in quarantine from the DTES to Chilliwack

‘People do best when they stay where they have supports already in place,’ stated Chilliwack mayor

B.C. couple celebrates 61st anniversary through seniors’ home window

Frank and Rena Phillips marked occasion at Nanaimo Seniors Village this week while social distancing

COVID-19 has been impacting Canadian economy since January

But full effects of pandemic won’t be known for months

Doctors trained abroad want to join front lines of COVID-19 fight in Canada

B.C. is looking to allow internationally trained doctors to work under the supervision of attending physicians

Fake test kits and other COVID online scams play on public anxiety: fraud centre

Vancouver has seen a spike in commercial property crimes, with offices and stores empty because of COVID-19

Canada’s 75% wage subsidy is coming, but not for several weeks: finance minister

Subsidy will cost Canada $71 billion, but push down cost of emergency benefit, Morneau said

Feds amplify stay-home message as cost of financial aid to Canadians mounts

Liberals have unveiled around $200B in direct financial aid and tax deferrals

‘We will get through this’: B.C. sees new COVID-19 death, but 57% have recovered

A total of 1,066 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus

World COVID-19 update: Six million U.S. jobless claims; Russia sends medical aid to U.S.

Comprehensive update with COVID-19 news from around the world

A look at some of the B.C. inventors creating life-saving tools in fight against COVID-19

Groups across B.C. are working together to create what they hope will help people affected by the pandemic

Most Read