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Alberta's Lower Athabasca Basin


Alberta's Lower Athabasca Basin

Archaeology and Palaeoenvironments
Recovering the Past, Band 1

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Beschreibungen

Over the past two decades, the oil sands region of northeastern Alberta has been the site of unprecedented levels of development. Alberta's Lower Athabasca Basin tells a fascinating story of how a catastrophic ice age flood left behind a unique landscape in the Lower Athabasca Basin, one that made deposits of bitumen available for surface mining. Less well known is the discovery that this flood also produced an environment that supported perhaps the most intensive use of boreal forest resources by prehistoric Native people yet recognized in Canada. Studies undertaken to meet the conservation requirements of the Alberta Historical Resources Act have yielded a rich and varied record of prehistoric habitation and activity in the oil sands area. Evidence from between 9,500 and 5,000 years ago—the result of several major excavations—has confirmed extensive human use of the region’s resources, while important contextual information provided by key geological and palaeoenvironmental studies has deepened our understanding of how the region’s early inhabitants interacted with the landscape.
Touching on various elements of this rich environmental and archaeological record, the contributors to this volume use the evidence gained through research and compliance studies to offer new insights into human and natural history. They also examine the challenges of managing this irreplaceable heritage resource in the face of ongoing development.

Contributors: Alwynne Beaudoin, Angela Younie, Brian O.K. Reeves, Duane Froese, Elizabeth Roberston, Eugene Gryba, Gloria Fedirchuk, Grant Clarke, John W. Ives, Janet Blakey, Jennifer Tischer, Jim Burns, Laura Roskowski, Luc Bouchet, Murray Lobb, Nancy Saxberg, Raymond LeBlanc, Robert R. Young, Robin Woywitka, Thomas V. Lowell, and Timothy Fisher
Over the past two decades, the oil sands region of northeastern Alberta has been the site of unprecedented levels of development. Alberta's Lower Athabasca Basin tells a fascinating story of how a catastrophic ice age flood left behind a unique landscape in the Lower Athabasca Basin, one that made deposits of bitumen available for surface mining. Less well known is the discovery that this flood also produced an environment that supported perhaps the most intensive use of boreal forest resources by prehistoric Native people yet recognized in Canada.
Contents

Introduction: The Archaeological Heritage of Alberta’s Lower Athabasca Basin
Brian M. Ronaghan

Part 1 Postglacial Environments

1 A Tale of Two Floods: How the End of the Ice Age Enhanced Oil Sands Recovery—and Decimated the Fossil Record
James A. Burns and Robert R. Young
2 Glacial Geology and Land-Forming Events in the Fort McMurray Region
Timothy G. Fisher and Thomas V. Lowell
3 Raised Landforms in the East-Central Oil Sands Region: Origin, Age, and Archaeological Implications
Robin J. Woywitka, Duane G. Froese, and Stephen A. Wolfe
4 Kearl Lake: A Palynological Study and Postglacial Palaeoenvironmental Reconstruction of Alberta’s Oil Sands Region
Luc Bouchet and Alwynne B. Beaudoin

Part 2 Human History

5 The Early Prehistoric Use of a Flood-Scoured Landscape in Northeastern Alberta
Grant M. Clarke, Brian M. Ronaghan, and Luc Bouchet
6 A Chronological Outline for the Athabasca Lowlands and Adjacent Areas
Brian O. K. Reeves, Janet Blakey, and Murray Lobb
7 Lower Athabasca Archaeology: A View from the Fort Hills
Robin J. Woywitka
8 The Early Human History of the Birch Mountains Uplands
John W. Ives

Part 3 Lithic Resource Use

9 Beaver River Sandstone: Characteristics and Use, with Results of Heat Treatment Experiments
Eugene M. Gryba
10 The Organization of Lithic Technology at the Quarry of the Ancestors
Nancy Saxberg and Elizabeth C. Robertson
11 Microblade Technology in the Oil Sands Region: Distinctive Features and Possible Cultural Associations
Angela M. Younie, Raymond J. Le Blanc, and Robin J. Woywitka

Part 4 Archaeological Methods

12 Quarries: Investigative Approaches in the Athabasca Oil Sands
Gloria J. Fedirchuk, Jennifer C. Tischer, and Laura Roskowski
13 Cumulative Effects Assessment: Evaluating the Long-Term Impact of Oil Sands Development on Archaeological Resources
Brian M. Ronaghan

List of Contributors

Index of Sites
General Index
For more than twenty years, Brian M. Ronaghan served in a research and regulatory compliance role with the Government of Alberta and directed a team responsible for overseeing archaeological studies in Alberta.

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