Can You Dig It?What can you discover from the archaeology collection about First Peoples' culture and history in British Columbia?

Did you know archaeology tells us that the First Peoples have been in British Columbia for at least 11,000 years?  The archaeology collection at the Royal BC Museum holds artifacts that are almost that old and from all over the province. Each artifact is linked to a particular place and each has a story to tell.

Artifacts are a kind of evidence. They are any object that has been shaped or used by human beings.  Most things around you in a room are artifacts.  The door, chairs, clothes you are wearing, these are all things made by humans.

Archaeologists are like detectives. They look for evidence that tells them about human behaviour in the past.  They put together many kinds of evidence to tell us what people were doing in the past. Fire hearth or house remains are one kind of evidence. These tell us the size of the house people lived in or the number of people that may have lived there. Evidence can also be animal bones that tell us about all the different kinds of animals people ate in the past.

Archaeologists gain a lot of information by studying artifacts they find buried in the ground. In a way, it is like the artifacts are telling stories. What can you learn about ancient First Peoples’ culture from the stories in the collection?


Read about BC’s most famous archaeology site, lip plugs and fish hooks. Find out what an atlatl is.



Watch videos about making and using stone tools by Curator of Archaeology, Grant Keddie.



View images of archaeology sites and artifacts from across the province.