Member Feature #6 – Saskatchewan Archaeological Society (SAS)

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Saskatchewan Archaeological Society, multiculturalism


A closer look

What are your mission and vision?

The Saskatchewan Archaeological Society will create and foster a deeper public understanding of archaeology and archaeological information, and encourage public support for the preservation of archaeological resources in Saskatchewan, in Canada, and worldwide.

multicultural, multiculturalism

Students taking part in excavations at South Branch House school dig, 2013

What are the programs and services offered by your organization?

The SAS offers over 25 programs and services such as programs like the ArchaeoCaravan, public excavations and field schools, bus tours, workshops, Culture Days and Member Funding Grants. Services (usually free to members or at a minimal cost for non-members) are our quarterly newsletter, an electronic monthly update (E-Voice), an annual Chapter barbeque, an Annual Gathering and General Meeting, ArchaeoKits and artifact identification.

Whom do you serve/target with your programs and services?

Most of our programs and services are offered to the general public as well as our membership.

What are you working on right now (project, fundraiser, special event, etc)?

The Honourable Kevin Doherty, Minister of Parks, Culture and Sport has again declared June as Archaeology Month in Saskatchewan. Both the SAS and our chapter host a series of activities for this event.

Two of our most popular summer programming events are the South Branch House Excavations and the ArchaeoCaravan. The ArchaeoCaravan is a multi-year partnership with the Museum Association of Saskatchewan where two archaeologists travel across Saskatchewan during the summer months visiting community museums. In addition to assisting the museums with the identification and interpretation of their archaeological collections, the ArchaeoCaravan hosts an Archaeology Day with hands-on activities such as pottery making, rock art and atlatl throwing.

The South Branch House public dig is taking place this summer from July 2-4, 7-11 and 14-18. South Branch House is a Hudson Bay trading post that was occupied between 1786 and 1794 that is located approximately 20 km north of the Batoche National Historic Site. Through careful recovery and examination of artifacts recovered from the site such as buttons, beads, ammunition and animal bones, we can better understand how 18th century fur-traders adjusted to a new home. We can also learn about the interaction between the First Nations and the fur-traders. We are inviting New Canadians to participate in this year’s public dig so they can experience a piece of Saskatchewan’s past.

multicultural, multiculturalism

ArchaeoCaravan staff talking to school children about Saskatchewan archaeology

Do you have a call for volunteers, fundraising, resources or submissions?

At the SAS we are always looking for people with an interest or connection to archaeology. We have several volunteer projects currently on the go such as updating our ArchaeoKits, creating new displays, and data entry. We are also looking for short archaeology related submissions for our newsletter.

What is one thing people may not know about your organization?

People may not be aware that the Saskatchewan Archaeological Society has several chapter organizations throughout the province. Chapters are affiliated with and receive funding through the society, but maintain their own executive and host their own interesting unique events. Please share a story that illustrates your organization’s impact in the community.
Since 1981, the Society has undertaken an annual bus tour, usually on Thanksgiving weekend. The bus tours are two or three day events that travel throughout Saskatchewan or nearby provinces or into the northern United States. Some of the sites we’ve visited include Fort Carlton, Moose Mountain Medicine Wheel, Cannignton Manor, St. Victor Petroglyphs, Forty Pelly, the Gowen sites, the Gull Lake site, Minton Turtle Effigy, Cabri Lake Hills, Claybank Brick Plan National Historic site, Stanley Mission, the Battlefords, Eastend, and South Branch House as well as countless community museums and scenic stops. These bus tours expose the participants to the diversity and extent of Saskatchewan’s archaeological heritage. Over 1,100 people have taken part in the tours. The tours also impact the communities we visit. There are the economic benefits of staying in a community, but more importantly, our visits reaffirm the interest in and the importance of local history and archaeology.

What types of challenges does your organization face?

Geography is one of our society’s challenges. Saskatchewan is over 650 000 km2 and the Society strives to represent the entire province! There are also over 10,000 years of human occupation in Saskatchewan and this translates into over 20, 000 archaeological sites that have been recorded. With changing technologies, we hope to stay connected with interested individuals across the province in order to identify, record and protect Saskatchewan’s archaeological heritage.

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