Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in Heritage Sites

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

Forty Mile: Archaeology

Allison Kormendy and Charmaine Christensen sifting dirt at Forty Mile dig.

Allison Kormendy and Charmaine Christensen sifting dirt at Forty Mile dig.

This large side-notched stone spear point is over 2,000 years old.

This large side-notched stone spear point is over 2,000 years old.

Victor Sidney takes a break from excavating a square at Forty Mile.

Victor Sidney takes a break from excavating a square at Forty Mile.

Elder J.J. Van Bibber examining an artifact at Forty Mile.

Elder J.J. Van Bibber examining an artifact at Forty Mile.

A bone or antler awl used to punch holes in hides before they were stitched into clothing.

A bone or antler awl used to punch holes in hides before they were stitched into clothing.

Artifacts at Forty Mile range from tiny stone chips to immense pieces of industrial machinery. Archaeological work at Forty Mile began in 1998 and continued for eight seasons. These projects were co-sponsored by the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in and the Government of Yukon.

According to archaeologist Christian Thomas, Forty Mile “likely contains the most detailed record of human history in the central Yukon for the time period spanning the last 2500 years and maybe more.” As well as finding stone tools, archaeological crews have found bone needles, bone arrow heads, birch bark baskets and countless fragments of processed caribou bone (used to make tools). Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in crew members learned that archaeology is an important way to learn the early stories of their forebears to share with others.

To learn more about Forty Mile archaeology, check out this booklet (PDF).