Home Artifacts Discovery shows First Nations activity in Saskatchewan 12,000 years ago

Discovery shows First Nations activity in Saskatchewan 12,000 years ago


The Rocanville Folsom site was discovered 22 years ago by Jake Sarazin and his late wife Brenda.

MOOSOMIN – Archaeologist Tom Richards and James Sarazin of Rocanville recently shared their findings at an archaeological site in the Qu’Appelle Valley near Rocanville, explaining that the site shows evidence of First Nations occupation of the area. Nations 12,000 years ago, information that helps fill in the pre-settlement history of the region, which First Nations are exploring as they seek to map traditional territories.

The Rocanville Folsom site was discovered 22 years ago by Jake Sarazin and his late wife Brenda.

“Jake and Brenda Sarazin were both longtime residents of Rocanville, and in 2000 Jake and his son were looking for sand for a pen for their turkey chicks. And they went to this property and when they looked the ground, they I saw artifacts on the ground, and there were quite a few – arrowheads, spearheads and other stone artifacts,” says archaeologist Richards.

Upon discovery, Jake and Brenda began collecting the artifacts found there and contacted the Saskatchewan Heritage Conservation Branch about their findings.

Their collection of artifacts became known as the Sarazin Collection. At the time of discovery, the collection was donated to the Rocanville Museum which in turn lent it to the Royal Saskatchewan Museum for study.

Since then, Richards and his wife Phillippa have studied the collection and found that artifacts found at the site relate to the Folsom period.

“In the collection of the site’s material, there are many different items found. Most of the items are arrowheads and spearheads, and those are very diagnostic over time,” says Richards.

“Of all this material I think I have cataloged over 1,800 items and of these only a small number are really early and characteristic of what we call the Folsom culture.”

Richards says the Folsom period occurred about 11,500 to about 12,700 years ago, and because the site contains artifacts that are intact from that time, Richards says he would say the Rocanville Folsom site has about 12,000 years old.

“In many cases you can tell from the style that the shape, length, scale of a projectile indicates approximately when it was made.

“From the style of the projectile points, you can identify an archaeological culture and the period that it is known to have arisen.”

After an analysis of the site, it became apparent to Richards that some of the artifacts had a direct link dated to the Folsom period, a time marked by the retreat of glaciers across the prairies around 11,000 years ago.

“People could be from over 13,000 years ago, potentially. That’s as early as you would find people in Saskatchewan, and we have no known evidence of archeology earlier than 10,600 years. There so has quite a gap there,” he says.

“This site helps fill that gap and as such if there are any intact deposits here (that connect to the Folsom period) then this will be the earliest known archaeological site in Saskatchewan.”

Although many other archaeological sites with artifacts have already been discovered in the province, Richards says there is no direct link between these found sites, which connect to an earlier period from 1000 to 2000 years.

“There are other archaeological sites where Folsom artifacts have been found on the surface that are in other collections, but there were no intact deposits from this Folsom period in Saskatchewan and we suspect that some could be present here (Rocanville site). ”

“When we get the chance we would like to go test and excavate the site which would be a survey beyond the surface collection and see if there are any intact deposits and then after maybe we can plan larger excavations.”

Artifacts found at this site show that the Folsom were in the Qu’Appelle Valley area, but as the spikes were found at surface level, there is no intact deposit to connect those who are. present in the Folsom period.

Richards points out that the artifacts found only explain that the Folsoms traveled through the area, but with further investigation, researchers can uncover what they were doing here and why.

“You might find animal bones to identify what people ate, you might find chimneys, you might find evidence of structures people lived in, and you might also get a better idea of ​​what they were making from (discovering) artifacts that were found on the ground,” says Richard.

The two artifacts found at the site were a distinctive spearhead used to hunt the extinct bison, Bison antiquus. The other was a Folsom Ultrathin Biface, a type of knife made from heat-treated material that was very thin and took a lot of skill to create.

The collection of artifacts became known as the Sarazin Collection, named after Jake and Brenda Sarazin, and their son James, who discovered the Folsom site in 2000.

“All sorts of details that will allow you to fully understand what people were doing there about 12,000 years ago and then fully document that this is the age, whatever year, that people were doing This in itself would be a huge step forward in our understanding and documentation of this very ancient period after the retreat of the glaciers and before about 10,600 years ago.

Richards says it’s important that the general public and the Saskatchewan community know the story behind these discoveries.

“We want people to know that there is a great heritage in Saskatchewan and that we learn even more about it. There is a lot to learn and it is worth protecting, researching and sharing the information on all that we can learn about it.

Richards says analyzing artifacts found at the Rocanville Folsom site can help raise awareness about what the Folsom period was all about.

“I think people want to know what the history and prehistory of their province is. We know there is more information about our recent historical past. Let’s go back to the fur trade in the late 1700s, but the public doesn’t have a lot of information about those earlier times,” he says.

“I think it’s really important for people to understand that First Nations people were here at the earliest, very shortly after the glaciation, and colonized the province at that time.

“The more we can learn about the past, the more we can understand the past and I think once people discover that knowledge of the past, they become proud of that information, that their province has a history that goes back that far and that people were here very much alive a long time ago in these harsh environments, which were a bit colder than the present and that they survived and thrived here going further and further back, and that their descendants lived here until nowadays.