Keeping Water Out

Today I continue my account of working on the Kilgii Gwaaysite in southern Gwaii Haanas for two weeks in early June – yesterday’s post summarizes the importance of the site and the kinds of information it holds.

Archaeologists are often interested in water as a subject of their study – for instance the relationship between settlement patterns and proximity to potable water or the role of irrigation in the development of agriculture. At Kilgii Gwaii water is a totally dominant theme, though it plays a minor role in the research questions. Some research questions that might be of interest are why did these people situate the Kilgii Gwaay camps next to the pond? Was the pond or its mud used for some purpose to do with curing hides, soaking wood to make it more pliable for some use such as basketry or bending boat frames or perhaps for colouring some elements of basketry black? Interesting possibilities of a type that may be explored during analysis.

However, water is much more fundamental to the Kilgii Gwaay project than a few research questions about a pond. First, it is a wet site and water is a necessary part of the preservation of wood and bone. Without it, the site would be one of dozens of similar stone tool sites in Gwaii Haanas and, while interesting, it would not be highly significant. And then there are all the logistical considerations of working with water at this location.

It’s impossible to work effectively under water, so every morning we needed to pump the units dry. And then bail them out every few minutes so we can see. So all day you are taking the water out of the unit and then at the end you put it back with a fire pump to prevent slumping and erosion as the tide cascades back in.

To open the gallery of images below click on any thumbnail, use the arrows to navigate and escape to return to this page.


This link catalogues my posts on the project. I was accompanied on this trip by one of the Quimper Hittys, Tansy (in her raincoat at all times), who is blogging about the trip from a doll’s view. You can find those posts here.

Canon 5Dii, Canon 50mm/f1.4 lens and Nikkor-N 24mm/f2.8 lens (last shot only).




10 thoughts on “Keeping Water Out

  1. Pingback: Kilgii Gwaay Finds « burnt embers

  2. Pingback: Putting Water In « burnt embers

    • Thanks Toad – I have been very fortunate to have been part of this project. I am glad you are enjoying the story as there are a few more posts to go.


    • There is a lot about it which is fun. The people can make or break a project in these kinds of conditions, or any conditions. Fortunately they are all great people to be with.


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