British Columbia

Arrowhead dating back at least 6,000 years found near Williams Lake, B.C.

An arrowhead dating back thousands of years was discovered last week by an archeology team near Williams Lake, B.C.

Ancient arrowhead is the oldest artifact found in the area

Williams Lake Indian Band senior archeologist Whitney Spearing said the discovery of an ancient arrowhead is 'unreal.' (Submitted by Whitney Spearing)

An arrowhead dating back thousands of years was discovered last week by an archeology team near Williams Lake, B.C.

The artifact, which is estimated to be between 6,000 and 7,500 years old was found at a site south of Williams Lake in soil that had been moved to put in a ditch, following a mudslide in 2019. Using a power screening unit and an excavator, the team uncovered the arrowhead. 

Until now, Williams Lake Indian Band senior archeologist and project manager Whitney Spearing said the site was believed to date back about 4,000 years.

"It's unreal," Spearing said. 

"People were here thousands and thousands of years ago and we're just putting the pieces back together as a puzzle. We have so little understanding of archeology in Williams Lake, in the Interior plateau as a whole."

This arrowhead found near Williams Lake, B.C., is estimated to be between 6,000 and 7,500 years old. (Sugar Cane Archaeology)

Over 4,000 other tools were found at the site, including arrowheads from other First Nations and from different time periods. 

"This area was used for thousands and thousands of years repetitively. People just kept coming back here and using the area," Spearing said. 

The majority of the site, excluding the ditch that was put in last year, will be preserved. 

Using a power screening unit and an excavator, a team of archeologists near Williams Lake, B.C., uncovered the oldest arrowhead found at the site, among other artifacts. (Submitted by Whitney Spearing)

Because the artifacts were found on Williams Lake Indian Band land, they aren't required to be sent to a provincial repository. This means they will stay in the community, available for research purposes.

Spearing said one of the unique things about this excavation is that each artifact has been marked in a 3D record to show the depth of each piece in relation to the others, which in turn helps determine their ages.

"We just have this deeper understanding of what's going on based on these tools," Spearing said. "It's not just about the tool. It's about the knowledge that we have that we can glean from it."

With files from Jenifer Norwell

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