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Archeologists dig for information

'Buried' findings at Forks excavation site

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 15/12/2011 (2686 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

ARCHEOLOGISTS in the province are calling on the Canadian Museum for Human Rights to unearth an 800-page report it's been sitting on for more than a year.

"This is being buried," said Leigh Syms.

The 71-year-old archeologist criticized the museum two years ago for not doing a more thorough archeological excavation at the historic construction site. Now he and other archeologists complain the museum won't share its findings.

The Association of Manitoba Archeologists has asked for the information twice, said president Matthew Singer. The first time they were told the information wasn't being released until all the reports were completed. Then they learned the 800-page report by archeologist Sid Kroker was finished in 2010 and asked for a copy, he said.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 15/12/2011 (2686 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
Leigh Syms, the archeologist who helped compile an 800-page report on the excavation at The Forks, said the museum has �buried� the findings.

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Leigh Syms, the archeologist who helped compile an 800-page report on the excavation at The Forks, said the museum has �buried� the findings.

ARCHEOLOGISTS in the province are calling on the Canadian Museum for Human Rights to unearth an 800-page report it's been sitting on for more than a year.

"This is being buried," said Leigh Syms.

The 71-year-old archeologist criticized the museum two years ago for not doing a more thorough archeological excavation at the historic construction site. Now he and other archeologists complain the museum won't share its findings.

The Association of Manitoba Archeologists has asked for the information twice, said president Matthew Singer. The first time they were told the information wasn't being released until all the reports were completed. Then they learned the 800-page report by archeologist Sid Kroker was finished in 2010 and asked for a copy, he said.

"We have not received a response," said Singer. "The Forks is such a wonderful site. The information should be available to the public."

Archeologists are also waiting to see how the excavation was conducted. But the museum said Thursday evening its critics should be aware the archeological study's final report is still being written and will be released sometime next year.

"We want to ensure we tell the whole story," said Angela Cassie, the museum's director of communications and external relations.

Cassie said Kroker retired after compiling 800 pages, whereupon another archeologist continued the study through the spring of 2011.

"It will all be released once we have the final report," Cassie said. "We conducted the largest dig ever undertaken at the Forks site."

She said the archeological study found thousands of pieces of pottery and fish bones at the site, along with some small tools. "There were no human remains found," Cassie said.

She said a few "key objects" were found, such as a pipe and some animal bones.

"With the key objects that were found, we're working with elders," she said. "They were related to the spirits of the people who owned them.

"We've feasted with the elders at Thunderbird House" to honour those remains, Cassie said.

She said the museum will make all the artifacts it has found available to researchers once the report is released.

Singer said he doesn't doubt the museum followed the province's Historic Resources Branch requirements.

"We want to make sure everything was done properly at the museum in terms of the excavation and make sure that Sid Kroker received all the support he should have," said Singer. "We want the report to verify everything they said was being done was done."

Archeologists and First Nations should be able to see the findings, said Syms, a researcher and adjunct professor in anthropology and archeology. He doesn't know why the museum won't post the massive, colourful document online.

"To them, looking after a few clay shards out of the ground may be insignificant, but the First Nations people I talk to are really incensed," said the archeologist. "The excitement of it is new plants and new animals and pottery," he said. "This is exciting new heritage we didn't know anything about."

carol.sanders@freepress.mb.ca

Carol Sanders

Carol Sanders
Reporter

Carol Sanders’ reporting on newcomers to Canada has made international headlines, earned national recognition but most importantly it’s shared the local stories of the growing diversity of people calling Manitoba home.

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