Cluny Tour June 16th

If you are unable to attend the volunteer excavations at Cluny, do not worry! The ASA is having a special tour on Saturday, June 16th at the Cluny Fortified Village. Find out how the site is shaping up this season and checkout the amazing interpretive center at Blackfoot Crossing. There is a small fee for the interpretive center that must be paid to also visit the archaeological site.

Weather is always changing so prepare to dress accordingly. Also, we suggest you pack your own lunch and water as there will not be any provided.

Forks Volunteer Field work – June 3rd-8th

Barney Reeves and Margaret Kennedy have conducted large-scale archaeological inventory of the complex ceremonial stone feature sites located on the horseshoe bend of the lower Red Deer River and at the Forks of the Red Deer and South Saskatchewan rivers since 2012.  Fieldwork in 2016 was concentrated along the valley walls of the bedrock-incised horseshoe bend of the lower Red Deer River below the Minor Medicine Wheels Ceremonial Complex on the valley edge.  Reeves and Kennedy spent much of the 2013 and 2015 field seasons recording thousands of stone features in the Complex on prairie level  and found a significant array of sites including constructed and cairn-marked travois/foot trails, complex stone circles, cairns, rock alignments, vision quests and of course the three known medicine wheels (Minor I,II and III).  In 2016, they and their trusty cohort of volunteers (Janice Andreas, Kay and Steve Farquharson, Cam Gardner, Helen Markussen, Terry Quinn) explored the spurs, benches and lower terraces of the Red Deer River valley to see how features there might relate to the Ceremonial Complex above and/or to the Red Deer River itself in this stunning location.  Gary Adams and crew, who had conducted the first major inventory of the area in 1975 and 1976, had recorded 15 sites in the valley.  We added another 30 sites bringing the total of individual stone features to some 1500.


The sites on prairie level are large and complex and inevitably tie in through direct line of sight with the medicine wheel locales.  If you are in a spot on the landscape where the medicine wheels are out of view, there is a high likelihood there will be no stone feature site there.  The sites along the valley wall and lower terraces are much smaller, often isolated yet are often ceremonial in nature themselves.  Thus one can identify vision quest sites, impressive large stone circles and stone arcs on points of higher elevation and aspect in the valley itself.  These sites are part of an entirety of ceremonial landscape use at this significant locale along the Red Deer River.


In the 2017 field season, Reeves and Kennedy revisited the Minor Complex as well as conducted inventory of stone features at the Muddy Springs and south Cabri Lake basin in Saskatchewan.  Volunteers (Janice Andreas, Liz Bryan, Julia Coutts, Liam Fleishhacker, Cam Gardner, Hugh Henry, Helen Markussen, Terry Quinn, Connie Sykes, Bern Weinhold) also helped out.  Muddy Springs is a prominent, now artificially enlarged springs that clearly was a focal point of ceremonial practice and land use in the past.  Two Subgroup 1 medicine wheels and a variety of cairns, rock alignments and stone circle types were recorded in the area around the springs.  Reeves and Kennedy also explored a coulee system immediately to the northeast of Muddy Springs as well as isolated hills in the basin just south of Cabri Lake.  Again, ceremonial stone features including some very large cairns and a new form of stone circle we call squared circles (square outline with rounded corners) were found in those localities.


The past five (and soon to be six) years of research at the Forks and lower Red Deer River vicinities have led Reeves and Kennedy to the appreciation of ceremonial land use there – the significance of natural features such as the Forks, the horseshoe bend of the Red Deer River (the Minor Locale) and Cabri Lake and the culturally constructed referents such as medicine wheels that altogether drew people to the area for repeated ceremonial and social practice over thousands of years.


For this upcoming field season beginning in late May, Reeves and Kennedy will be selectively evaluating the impacts of the October 2017 devastating wild fires that ignited in Kennedy Coulee and spread quickly all the way to Cabri Lake, a distance of some 38 km from west to east.  Sites recorded by Gary Adams in his 1975 and’76 surveys in Kennedy Coulee and other significant sites such as the Hugo Dosch bison kill and processing complex just east the provincial border in Saskatchewan were burned as were the numerous  stone features recorded by Reeves and Kennedy along Empress Creek and in Muddy Springs southwest of Cabri Lake. Some small areas of the burn have been flown with a UAV.  Butch Amundson and Tom Howat of Stantec flew a section and a half of the burned area at Muddy Springs in December 2017and Adam Hauer has recorded burned site areas around the Hugo Dosch site where he had undertaken archaeological inventory and testing for his MA thesis research at the University of Saskatchewan. Further UAV flights are planned over burned sections on the 96 Ranch south of Cabri Lake in May prior to the initiation of 2018 ground-based fieldwork.


Volunteers interested in participating in the 2018 fieldwork who are available June 3rd to 8th are invited to contact Barney Reeves ( or Margaret Kennedy ( for further details.

Head-Smashed-In Tour: June 2nd

Please join the Archaeological Society on a field trip to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Head-Smashed-In (HSI) Buffalo Jump on Saturday, June 2nd. Bus will depart from south end of Calgary at 7:45 am. Expect to be back in Calgary around 5:30pm. The field trip will include a walking tour of the drive lanes at HSI; we encourage wearing sturdy footwear and to dress appropriately for the weather conditions. There is no cost for the field trip thanks to a generous donation from Plains Midstream.

*To register please email:

The trip is limited to 48 participants and registration will be on a “first registered first served” basis. Preregistration is required to attend. A wait list will be compiled if necessary. Once registration is confirmed, a map will be provided to the bus meeting place.

**Please note that lunch and water will not be provided.
*** We suggest bringing a bag lunch as we will be touring the drive lanes over lunch.

Cluny Volunteer Excavations

The University of Calgary is offering a volunteer excavation program at Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park this summer. Participants will excavate alongside members of the Archaeology Field School at the famous Cluny Fortified Village site. First time participants will receive a tour of the archaeological site. Volunteers will be supervised by experienced University of Calgary graduate students. Training in archaeological excavation techniques will be provided on site. All artifacts from the site are the property of the Siksika Nation and, ultimately, will be stored at Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park Interpretive Centre.

The program will operate from May 22 to June 22, 2018, Tuesday–Saturday. Cost consists of the daily admission fee to Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park ($12.00 + GST for adults, $8.00 for children). Participants will meet with volunteer program supervisors at the Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park Interpretive Centre parking lot at 9:00 AM each day—please note that there are no overnight accommodation facilities at the park.

Participants under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a responsible adult at all times; the minimum age requirement is 12. All participants will be required to complete a Volunteer Liability Waiver Form and a Photography Waiver Form. Participants under the age of 18 must also complete an Informed Consent Form.

Check out our Facebook Page (University of Calgary Public Archaeology Program – and our website ( for updates.

Please email or call 403-220-8537 to register or for further information.

Stone Circle Mapping

*Please note this event is through the Lethbridge Center*
May 26th- May 27th

ASA – Lethbridge Center requires volunteers to aid in the mapping and recording of approximately 50 stone circles at a previously recorded site along the Little Bow River. Dr. Peter Dawson from the University of Calgary will be joining and demonstrating the use of drones with multi-spectral imaging to map the site and help locate other rings that may be hidden.

*Please note that you must be an ASA member to attend. If you haven’t bought your membership yet, the cost is $10 for students and $20 for individuals or families.Please email to RSVP

Brazeau Reservoir Public Survey

May 26th @ Brazeau Reservoir PRA

Tree Time Services Inc. is sponsoring the Archaeological Society of Alberta’s (ASA) public survey of the Brazeau Reservoir. TTSI team members and volunteers from the ASA will be on hand to lead a survey and teach people how to spot artifacts in the exposed sands. In past years, people have found many projectile points, boiling pits, and ancient horse fossils.

The event is free for ASA members. For more information or to become part of the ASA, contact

Writing on Stone Tour

*Please note this Tour is through the Lethbridge Centre*

***Re Scheduled for May 19th***

Come tour Writing-On-Stone Provincial Park’s newly acquired lands in the West Block and Heffner Coulee. Tour will be lead by interpreters from WOSPP. There will be a weiner roast in the campground after the tour concludes.

*Please note that the attendance will be capped at 30 people and you must be an ASA member to attend. If you haven’t bought your membership yet, the cost is $10 for students and $20 for individuals or families.Please email to RSVP

March Lecture Series

Presenter: Dr. Max Friesen, University of Toronto
Title: Inuvialuit Architecture: The Archaeology of Cruciform Houses in the Mackenzie Delta
Where:University of Calgary ICT 121
When: March 21st, 7:30 pm
Within the great range of house types occupied by Northern peoples in the 19th century, a few stand out due to their size, complexity, or unusual form. One of the most spectacular is the cruciform semi-subterranean house occupied by Inuvialuit in the Mackenzie Delta region, Northwest Territories. These are known through traditional knowledge and ethnohistoric sources as very large, carefully constructed driftwood-framed houses with three alcoves bordering a central floor area. Over the past 60 years, several archaeologists have excavated portions of cruciform houses, leading to gradually increasing knowledge about them. However, due to their great size, deep burial, and problems with permafrost, it has been difficult to excavate one fully. In this paper, I report on the recent excavation of two large cruciform houses at the site of Kuukpak on the East Channel of the Mackenzie River. Following a brief overview of the ethnohistoric record, I will interpret aspects of the houses’ architectural form, construction techniques, episodes of rebuilding, and change over time.

Stones and Bones 2018

Have you ever wondered about the artifacts you’ve found in your own backyard in Southern Alberta?

Do you have artifacts or fossils that you want identified?

The Archaeological Society of Alberta – Calgary Centre has organized a weekend of archaeological discovery and exploration at the: Nose Creek Valley Museum in Airdrie
This Family Fun Event is FREE!!

Bring your arrowheads and other artifacts, as well as any fossils or bones you may have for identification. Archaeologists and a Paleontologist from the Royal Alberta Museum will be available to identify and discuss your discoveries

For more information please contact:
Brent Murphy at

Nose Creek Valley Museum
1701 Main St S.W., Airdrie, AB
Saturday, April 14, 2018 – 10 am to 4pm
Sunday, April 15, 2018 – 10 am to 3 pm

Introduction to Flintknapping Workshop


Back for the seventh consecutive year, we are offering the workshop over two days at the Nose Creek Valley Museum in Airdrie.

On Saturday April 14th we will be offering an Introduction to Flintknapping. This course will be beneficial to those new to making stone tools, as well as those just looking for a little extra practice and a few pointers. A basic introduction to techniques involved in the production of chipped stone tools will include: platform preparation, hard hammer and soft hammer percussion and pressure flaking. The course runs 9 am to 3 pm, at the Nose Creek Valley Museum in Airdrie.

On Sunday April 15th, we will be holding a full day Knap-In. This course is aimed at those with a strong desire to improve their existing flintknapping and prehistoric technology skills. The workshop will take the form of instructor led discussion and demonstration on platform preparation and thinning, followed by the numerous techniques utilized in the hafting of arrowheads and spear points to tool shafts (notching, raw hide, sinew, hide glue etc..) As in previous Knap-Ins, we encourage participants to bring their own projects to share experience, skills, and techniques with others. Projects in the past have included slate knives, multi component tools, fluting and the fletching of arrows. The course runs 9 am to 3 pm at the Nose Creek Valley Museum in Airdrie. Please note, that in order to take the second day, you must have taken the first day or an equivalent course (experience with flintknapping is required).

$35.00 for one day / $50.00 for both days

*Special one day discount rate for students ($30.00)

Includes instructions, material and lunch. Space is limited!

Priority will be given to Archaeological Society Members.

Please contact Brent Murphy for more information or to register at