Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in Heritage Sites

Welcome to Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in Heritage Sites, an online resource dedicated to exploring our history and culture.

Black City: Archaeology

Steve Kocsis, Gladys Alexie, Corey Alexie, Walter Alexie, Robert Alexie and Charmaine Christiansen near a house pit at Black City, 2004.

Steve Kocsis, Gladys Alexie, Corey Alexie, Walter Alexie, Robert Alexie and Charmaine Christiansen near a house pit at Black City, 2004.

Hide flesher found at Black City, 2004.

Hide flesher found at Black City, 2004.

Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Archives
Robert Alexie by a grave fence in the Blackstone Uplands.

Robert Alexie by a grave fence in the Blackstone Uplands.

Percy Henry at Black City.

Percy Henry at Black City.

I really appreciate what they're doing now; they work together, non-status and status, and the non-Indian people. It's really good and they know what the country feel like. You just come in here, you gonna feel it. Nobody rush here, time don't mean anything.

Percy Henry, 2002, about the archaeology work at Black City

This bounteous land was also home to ancient hunters. Archaeological evidence shows continuous use of this area for at least 10,000 years when this land was still part of Beringia, the steppe tundra that remained ice-free during the most recent glaciations.

Since 1989, archaeologists have worked with elders and Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in citizens on a number of archaeological surveys along the Dempster Corridor and within the area of present day Tombstone Territorial Park. They have identified numerous sites where tool makers crafted points from chert, a fine grained sedimentary stone. At several of these tool-making sites, early hunters watched for game while preparing their tools.

Archaeological excavations at Black City in 1989 and 2004 have identified the remains of cabins outlines, excavated floors of domed skin tents (according to elders, these were seasonal shelters covered with caribou and moose hides), caches and tent sites. Other features in the area included brush and pole trap sets, and a nearby burial fence.