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Finds, Relics, and Evidence from The Past

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In The Lonely Land Sigurd F. Olsen wrote
"...Then he dug with a sharpened stick in a wide crack beside the fireplace and pulled out a great chunk of moss that had filled it. He laid it on a shelf of clean limestone and began to comb it carefully, picking it apart bit by bit. He was deeply absorbed and I knelt beside him and watched. There were half a dozen more fragments of the Hudson's Bay Company willowware packed in from York Factory on the great Bay, a section of Indian crockery, the edge of an earthenware bowl, broken stems from the clay pipes of voyageurs, a brass button from a Canadian Army uniform of World War 1- all of that from a single crevice.
"If only I had a shovel" he said, "think what I might find. Every crack is full of stuff, every foot of ground around here packed with relics."
Elliot was a true archeologist, never so happy as when looking for evidence of the past."

Has anyone here on CT come across finds, relics, or evidence from the past, historic or otherwise?
 
Lots of old homesteads, farm and ranch equipment in the West. Ring bolts near rapids, old steamboat wrecks. ferries no longer in operation.
A metal detector would be awesome on a lot of rivers.
 
I found Pimola's Rock on the Penobscot River in Mattawamkeag, Maine in 2016 as described and shown at the link below, but no relics were evident at that time.

Benson


 
Culturally modified tree - CMT. I did some archaeology field work in Washington. This drift log that has been washed out of the bank is a Western Red Cedar with a quite probable peel scar. The inner bark of WRC's is premium basketry material. Native Americans harvested it by taking a long strip off the tree. It leaves the tree and forest healthy and intact. If you know the growth rate in the area, you can measure the depth of the scar and get a date for when it was peeled. Peel scars are usually on the uphill side on a tree with no branches for 25 ft or so.
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Hammer stone - We found this while walking a river bank looking for a village site. Took a picture and left it. You don't collect artifacts unless you're going to document and store them.
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I have a small waterproof metal detector. At times I've thought of bringing it along on trips as it wouldn't take up much pack space but I can't convince myself to actually do it. It seems wrong to remove them. Whatever they are they belong there and once removed their significance is diminished.

When I read old books of early travels in the north it seems they were always finding old Hudson Bay and Innuit artifacts and taking them home. Where are those artifacts now? Just some old knick knacks to be gotten rid of after they die or locked up in a stuffy museum.

Alan
 
Sailing small boats in the south shore bays of Long Island I've found some interesting things. On a beach of one I found a collection of nautical iron including chain and oarlocks. Too much to come from one boat, I wonder how it got there. Near another island of long time summer homes, my shipmate and I found a collection of broken china. My theory there was that the shoreline had shifted and uncovered and old home dumpsite. On the beaches near my home I have found parts of cars, boats, homes, bicycles, and a sewing machine. Maybe the most curious was a child's tombstone from the 1800s. It must have once been at the top of the bluff, perhaps on a farm.
 
35+ years in the archaeology biz. I still get a rush out of finding a projectile point or other artifact, knowing I'm the first person to have touched it since its previous owner. Feels like a direct spiritual connection. Doesn't happen often anymore because other people get to dig holes for me. I just get to write about them. Photo is about 20 years ago. Stain in front of me is an Early Archaic hearth. About 9,000 or 10,000 years old. Deep in an upstate South Carolina floodplain.

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These stories remind me of the guys who in the 1960's took scuba gear into the BWCA/border area and dove below rapids finding trade goods and various pieces of equipment from the fur trade era from capsized canoes.
 
Sorry no pics…
When the Open Space Institute first acquired Henderson Lake and the Preston Ponds, my son and his buddy joined me on a trip to a duck Hole. (ADK’s)
When searching for a suitable carry between upper and lower Preston Pond, buddy and I traversed some rock ledges, near more large, overhanging rock ledges.
As buddy stepped down one of the ledges I heard a crunch and asked if he was ok. Buddy replied that he just fell through a rotting log. Oops, not a log! It’s a boat!
Turns out it was a stashed guideboat, partially protected by the overhanging ledges, with the more exposed part slowly being absorbed into the forest floor. Couldn’t have been that old, it had screws holding the planking to the ribs. Still a cool find.
No pics because it was coming down in buckets at the time, and our return trip was via a different route.
Years later, our very own Conk paid a visit, and found that hulk just as I had described. He might have some pics
 
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Logging era machine part found while bushwhacking north of Harrington Pond/Brook, north of Rainer Creek, having missed the turnoff for the carry to Clear Pond from Lake Lila, Adirondacks. Presumably, this boggy area was at one time flooded so logs could be floated to Lake Lila. I imagine this was an engine part from a boat of some sort which was allowed to rot away when the water level dropped to natural levels.
 
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Logging era machine part found while bushwhacking north of Harrington Pond/Brook, north of Rainer Creek, having missed the turnoff for the carry to Clear Pond from Lake Lila, Adirondacks. Presumably, this boggy area was at one time flooded so logs could be floated to Lake Lila. I imagine this was an engine part from a boat of some sort which was allowed to rot away when the water level dropped to natural levels.

Nice thought but that's a modern era brake rotor. I'd guess a 1998 Bonneville. :D

Alan
 
On my last trip North I found the remains of some old cabins at the Kasmere portage. Nothing left other than some rotted mounds that were once log walls. In one of the 'cabins' were the pieces of an old stove. I stopped there to cook a bannock lunch on on my twig stove so I used one of the stove pieces to place my stove on and protect the ground.

20160827_354 by Alan, on Flickr

20160827_355 by Alan, on Flickr

20160827_352 by Alan, on Flickr

This by itself isn't anything too spectacular and I didn't think much of it.
That winter, as I was doing some reading, I learned those cabins were an old Revillon Freres trading post. I thought that was pretty neat.

Later that winter, when reading another pair of books (Plain Tales of the North and Glimpses of the Barren Lands) by Thierry Mallet, who at the time was high up in Revillon Freres, I came across what, to me, was an extremely interesting story.

He told of a winter inspection trip up north. He didn't provide any place names but from the clues and descriptions he gave of his travels and distances I had a pretty good idea where he was. Then he began talking about the trading cabin he stayed in that winter and based on his details there could be hardly any doubt it was the Kasmere portage and the cabins I found the remains of. He talked of the brutal cold and how he relied on his stove to keep him warm and alive. Was this the same stove I'd come across? Maybe, maybe not. But it's fun to think so.

Later in the story he mentions Kasmere himself, then still a pretty young man, showing up at the trading post and leading Thierry to their winter encampment. There could also be little doubt of the encampment he was referring to which is the exact place I'd come across by accident and camped at the next evening.

20160815_248 by Alan, on Flickr
 
Nice thought but that's a modern era brake rotor. I'd guess a 1998 Bonneville. :D
Oops, egg on my face! Still, odd place to find it. The nearest road is a kilometer away by my guess. Or one heck of a discus toss from the Adirondack Railway about a hundred meters away…
 
Oops, egg on my face! Still, odd place to find it. The nearest road is a kilometer away by my guess. Or one heck of a discus toss from the Adirondack Railway about a hundred meters away…
It's definitely an understandable mistake. My guess would be someone brought it along to use as an anchor and soon tired of carrying it.

Alan
 
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Logging era machine part found while bushwhacking north of Harrington Pond/Brook, north of Rainer Creek, having missed the turnoff for the carry to Clear Pond from Lake Lila, Adirondacks. Presumably, this boggy area was at one time flooded so logs could be floated to Lake Lila. I imagine this was an engine part from a boat of some sort which was allowed to rot away when the water level dropped to natural levels.
that looks to me like a fairly recent car brake rotor- it has the machined pad surfaces, ventilated ribs between the faces and common 5 bolt stud pattern. many people (including myself ) use them for anchors- they're a lot better for the environment if you lose them than a bucket full of lead or concrete, and a lot cheaper than a traditional kedge or mushroom anchor.
 
Not to be morbid, but old graves are significant reminders that people once lived - and died - in country we now look upon as wilderness.

Graves, adult and child, Roundrock Lake, NWT

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The Tlicho (Dogrib) Dene from the area north of Great Slave Lake make a point of visiting these old graves, and refurbishing them where necessary, while travelling on the land.

A refurbished grave on Bigspruce Lake, NWT. The pickets of the original grave can be seen in the background.

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On the other hand, the old cemetary at Pike's Portage landing on Great Slave Lake shows no signs of refurbishment. It had deteriorated significantly between my 1996 and 2007 visits - I wonder if anything remains after subsequent fires.

Pike's Portage grave.

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It's always interesting to locate old survey markers - remnants of the time when Canada was surveyed by canoe and portage, rather than aircraft or satellite.

Cairn and survey marker, Hottah Lake, NWT.

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Old winter trapping / hunting cabins remind us of an industry now nearly gone.

Some in relatively good shape - Meridian Lake, NWT

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Others less so - Hottah Lake NWT

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near Rennie Lake, NWT

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Near cabins, there are always tin cans rusting in the moss - how old does a piece of trash have to be before it becomes an artifact?

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You can't make bannock without it!

The old (now banned) leghold trap that was the basis of the industry.

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Along the old routes, you sometimes find old canoes - generally well beyond restoration, even by the experts of Canoetripping.

On Cotterill Lake, NWT

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near Rennie Lake, NWT

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Other artifacts date to our "industrial" age

This massive winch at the site of the old Indore gold mine on Hottah Lake.

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This wing from an RCAF Canso (PBY in the US) flying boat that crashed on a geomagnetic survey in the 1950s. The crew was all safe, and most of the aircraft salvaged. Spitfire Lake, Thoa River, NWT

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This massive fireplace - the site of the first Plummer's lodge on Hloo Channel, Great Bear Lake, NWT - remains long after the building around it disappeared when the lodge moved.

Old Fireplace.JPG

Lots of memories.

-wjmc
 

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This has turned into quite an interesting thread.

No pictures, but 40 years ago I used to illegally paddle on a reservoir in another state. Once when it was extremely low from a drought, I could see the remains of buildings and roads under the water.

More recently, in an undisclosed location, I found these coins on a fire pit. I believe they could be Roman or Greek, maybe Hittite or Babylonian . . . but, to be honest, I've never been good with money.

Coins on fire pit.JPG

I left a quarter. Maybe someone a thousand years from now will think it's a 1998 Bonneville brake rotor.
 
Near cabins, there are always tin cans rusting in the moss - how old does a piece of trash have to be before it becomes an artifact?


-wjmc
Don't know about Canada, but in the US, 50 or more years old would be an artifact and would be protected by the National Historic Preservation Act if it was on federal property. Which I find personally insulting. :)
 
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