Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
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.
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)
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.
Province of Alberta
Historical Resources Act
Provincial Historic Resource
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
- Natural Resource Extraction Facility or Site
Architect / Designer
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