North

Remains of early Yukon fort uncovered by dig

An archaeological dig has unearthed the original Fort Selkirk built in 1848 by Hudson Bay trader and explorer Robert Campbell.

An archeological dig in the central Yukon has unearthed the original Fort Selkirkbuiltin 1848 by Hudson Bay trader and explorerRobert Campbell.

Remains of the fort werefound on the Pelly River last summer by a group led by University of Alberta PhD archeology studentVictoria Castillo.

Campbell and his workers built the small fort and lived within its walls until 1851, when they decided to move the buildings across the Yukon River to the current site of Fort Selkirk, Castillo said an interview Wednesday.

Eight months after relocating, Campbell was evicted from the area by the coastal Chilkats because he threatened their trading network with the local Northern Tutchone First Nation people, she said.

The first fort had been built in a swampy area that was often affected by flooding, Castillo said.

The dig revealed a deep meat cellar encased in wood, she said. They also found evidence of four collapsed chimneys and the site of the house used by the workers.

The site was first identified in 1988 by Yukon archeologists who found a small depression in the ground and marked it for further work.

Castillo said she will return to the site next summer with members of the Selkirk First Nation to do more excavations.

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