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Niska Site

Auvergne RM 76, Saskatchewan, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1992/05/06

View southeast across site area, currently a hay field, 2007.; Government of Saskatchewan, Marvin Thomas, 2007.
Niska Site
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Other Name(s)

Niska Site
Archaeological Site DkNu-3

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2009/03/26

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Niska Site is a Municipal Heritage Property comprising 64 hectares of cultivated fields approximately eight kilometers southeast of the Town of Ponteix. The property features extensive deposits of precontact artifacts that have been brought to the surface by cultivation and erosion. Undisturbed archaeological remains below the plough zone have also been identified.

Heritage Value

The heritage value of the Niska site lies in the information it reveals regarding Saskatchewan's early inhabitants. The surface artifacts represent numerous precontact cultures spanning several millennia. The property is most significant for a buried occupation attributed to a late manifestation of the “Scottsbluff” culture that was radiocarbon dated to more than 7,000 years before present. Excavation of this component revealed an ancient campsite strategically located near seasonal ponds that would have been attractive to game animals. Camp activities, some of which took place around a hearth, included stone tool preparation, hide working and cooking. The presence of abundant hematite, an ingredient in pigments and paint, suggests that artistic or ceremonial activities may also have occurred.

When discovered in 1983, these were the oldest intact archaeological remains known in the Saskatchewan. Only three undisturbed sites of similar antiquity have been investigated since.


Rural Municipality of Auvergne, No. 76 Bylaw No. 92-11.

Character-Defining Elements

The heritage value of the Niska site resides in the following character-defining elements:
-elements that reflect precontact use of the site and contribute to its interpretation, including hearths or other archaeological features, butchered bone, artifacts such as projectile points and other stone tools, and the spatial relationships and environmental context of the archaeological remains.




Recognition Authority

Local Governments (SK)

Recognition Statute

Heritage Property Act, s. 11(1)(a)

Recognition Type

Municipal Heritage Property

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Peopling the Land
Canada's Earliest Inhabitants

Function - Category and Type


Food Supply
Rural District or Area


Undetermined (archaeological site)
Buried Site
Undetermined (archaeological site)
Exposed Site

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Saskatchewan Ministry of Tourism, Parks, Culture and Sport Heritage Resources Branch 1919 Saskatchewan Drive Regina, SK File: MHP 1467

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier

MHP 1467



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