Small Stones and Big Buttes: Pebble Quarrying in the Misty Hills

October 16, 2013. Don Hanna, Lifeways of Canada Limited.

During the course of investigations in support of the Hanna Region Transmission Development for Atco Electric Ltd, a hitherto unknown complex of Precontact era sites was encountered in an area southeast of Consort known as the “Misty Hills”.  We have identified an extensive group of sites, consisting of at least one large quarry area with pebble chert and pebble quartzite deposits where toolstone was tested and gathered, together with a number of associated workshop/lookouts and workshop/campsites.  A unique aspect of the Misty Hills quarry is that both high quality chert and quartzite pebbles can be found here, and both were apparently used by ancient peoples.  Assemblages are characterized by high densities of un-tried and tried quartzite and chert pebbles, with scattered anvils and hammerstones.  The Misty Hills are a relatively dense nexus of extremely well-preserved examples of different types of sites that reflect on different aspects of ancient life.  The significance of the quarry, workshops and campsites in the Misty Hills is greater than the sum of its parts.  In recognition of this significance, ATCO engaged in project re-design in a commendable effort to avoid impacts to these significant sites.