Evidence of early fur trade post found under old power plant
Published Thursday, August 9, 2012 6:50PM MDT Last Updated Thursday, August 9, 2012 7:19PM MDT
Construction crews in Edmonton's river valley may have uncovered evidence of some of the first settlers to the Edmonton-area, under the Rossdale Power Plant.
EPCOR brought in Calgary-based company AMEC to help with the excavation under the buildings to make way for the EPCOR water offices.
Their senior archaeologist Nancy Saxberg made the interesting discovery underneath the concrete floor of the demolished machine shop.
Her team found what appears to be the remains of an outer stockade wall trench of one of the fur trade forts, believed to date back to about 1802.
“It’s actually one of the earliest non-native structures in the entire city,” Nancy explained. “If it is what I think it is and because there was more than one fur trade site on the property, I think we actually found one of the earlier ones.”
The team’s digs occurred between May and June. Among the findings was an aboriginal stone pipe with a zigzag pattern etched into it.
They believe it may be a possible sign that it was used by the Blackfoot tribe, who also traded at Fort Edmonton.
Saxberg isn’t sure why this spot was chosen for the trading fort, but looks forward to finding out.
“Now we haven’t found a lot of evidence of aboriginal occupation earlier than the fur trade,” Saxberg added. “They had to have been camping somewhere in the area. What attracted them? I’m not really sure.”
It’s not clear when experts will start studying the artifacts.
With files from David Ewasuk