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BEAVER RIVER QUARRY ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE

Near Fort MacKay, Alberta, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1985/12/30

Beaver River Quarry Archaeological Site Provincial Historic Resource, near Fort MacKay (date unknown); Alberta Culture and Community Spirit - Royal Alberta Museum, date unknown
Survey of south side of burrow pit
Beaver River Quarry Archaeological Site Provincial Historic Resource, near Fort MacKay (date unknown); Alberta Culture and Community Spirit - Royal Alberta Museum, date unknown
Excavation
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Other Name(s)

n/a

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2009/01/22

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Beaver River Quarry Archaeological Site is situated on 49 hectares of land just north of the confluence of Beaver Creek with the Athabasca River. Set amidst a stand of jack pine on the rim of the Athabasca River valley, this site represents the first identified source of a distinctive bedrock outcrop known as Beaver River Silicified Sandstone (BRSS). This raw material exhibits characteristics well-suited for stone tool manufacture and evidence of this prehistoric activity can be found in abundance at the site. BRSS has represented the overwhelming choice of tool stone for human groups occupying the Lower Athabasca River area throughout the prehistoric time period. Since the discovery of this important site, BRSS has been found in numerous archaeological sites representing a vast array of ancient prehistoric activities.

Heritage Value

The heritage value of the Beaver River Quarry Archaeological Site lies in the repeated use of this locality by prehistoric human groups to quarry this bedrock outcrop to obtain high quality raw materials for making stone tools. The site represents the type source of this distinctive stone material against which newly discovered bedrock outcrops or buried sources can be correlated and compared.

The site represents one of the most significant quarrying and tool working localities used by prehistoric groups in northern Alberta. The thousands of debris flakes, stone tools and weapons recovered through repeated archaeological investigations at the site indicate use primarily as a quarry and tool manufacturing workshop. Analysis of the collected materials reveals much about the processes of ancient tool manufacture in the region and suggests intensive prehistoric use of the locality dating as far back as 10,000 years. Tracking the dispersal of this distinctive stone material to distant archaeological sites has assisted in reconstructions of prehistoric trade networks and seasonal settlement patterns. With its abundance of artifacts and excellent documentation, the Beaver River Quarry Archaeological Site offers vital insights into prehistoric human cultures that inhabited the Lower Athabasca River region of northern Alberta.

Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch (File: Des. 900)

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements of the Beaver River Quarry Archaeological Site include such features as:
- location along the rim of the Athabasca River at its confluence with the Beaver River;
- local environment of alder, moss, lichen, and jack pine forest;
- presence of distinctive bedrock outcrop known as Beaver River Silicified Sandstone;
- composition and sequence of geological site strata;
- surface and sub-surface prehistoric artifacts associated with the site;
- information about ancient techniques of tool manufacture, prehistoric trade networks and seasonal settlement patterns.

Recognition

Jurisdiction

Alberta

Recognition Authority

Province of Alberta

Recognition Statute

Historical Resources Act

Recognition Type

Provincial Historic Resource

Recognition Date

1985/12/30

Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

n/a

Theme - Category and Type

Peopling the Land
Canada's Earliest Inhabitants
Peopling the Land
People and the Environment
Developing Economies
Extraction and Production

Function - Category and Type

Current

Historic

Industry
Natural Resource Extraction Facility or Site

Architect / Designer

n/a

Builder

n/a

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch, Old St. Stephen's College, 8820 - 112 Street, Edmonton, AB T6G 2P8 (File: Des. 900)

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier

4665-0145

Status

Published

Related Places

n/a

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