Trail workers found two stone tools at Deep Creek recently. (Xatśūll Cmetēm photo submitted)

Trail maintenance workers discover Indigenous artifacts at Deep Creek

“This could end up being bigger,” says Glen Dixon

A day of cleaning up bike trails north of Williams Lake turned into a special find for two brothers who discovered some Indigenous artifacts.

The two lithic pieces as well as a shard of animal bone were found earlier this week at Xat’sull First Nation’s Deep Creek Reserve (Cmetēm) by Chris Quon was who was doing some trail maintenance with his brother Aaron.

“We don’t usually expect to find stuff like this especially on a trail that has already been made,” Chris said on Facebook.

“This trail was here already a year or two ago.”

Read More: B.C. First Nation reunited with artifact 13 years after found in Williams Lake

Quon immediately recognized the items as artifacts and alerted their uncle Glen Dixon who works as the nation’s senior archaeologist technician —a position Dixon has had for nearly three decades.

“They’ve been around archaeology since they were kids because with me doing it all this time they grew up with it,” Dixon said, noting he has been involved with archaeology since he was 22-years old.

“I’m always excited especially when we got the younger ones being interested in what we’re doing because I’m getting up there in age where I can’t be out there doing it all the time.”

The age of the lithic pieces that were most likely once part of a stone tool is unknown. Dixon said the shard of animal bone he believes most likely came from a deer.

“These areas are used over and over and over from all of our people around here that it could be from any date,” he said of the artifacts which are currently being stored at the community’s natural resource office.

“Our people used to go over the place because it used to be a corridor and with Hawkes Creek going by not too far from the Fraser River you’re going to find history everywhere you go.”

With the Cariboo-Chilcotin once being the first and only home to hundreds of Indigenous people, Chief Sheri Sellars was not surprised by the find of the artifacts.

Read More: First Nations youth get hands on archaeological experience

Because the nation’s main village is in Soda Creek (Xat’sull), little archaeology work has ever been done in Deep Creek that has old trap lines and hayfields, Dixon said.

Before the artifacts were removed from the site, band administrator Craig Smith said the area was extensively documented.

Although there are no plans to expand on the trail, Xat’sull First Nation is eyeing potential housing in the area —which Smith said would require the completion of an archaeology study before anything could be built.

Read More: Indigenous repatriation projects get new funding from BC government

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