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A Journey to a New Land

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Daryl Fedje

Geoarchaeologist, Parks Canada

Richardson Site - Technological Change

The site is also very interesting in that shows a very dramatic shift in the technology that people had at this early time. The levels that date between about 11,300 and 11,000 years ago have a lot of chipped stone tools, including chipped stone knives and spear points and things like that. Then at around 11,000 years ago we see a drastic change to a new technology which is called where they use short little segments of chips of stone and make a composite tool where they put these little segments of stone into a slotted piece of bone or antler and make a special tool that they’d use for hunting or for a variety of different tasks. So we see a dramatic shift in the technology that people used.

Exactly what the reasons were, we are not sure. It’s a different approach to making stone tools. The earlier technology where you produce larger bifaces or chipped stone knives and spear points uses quite a bit of stone to make a tool, whereas the microblade technology uses a very tiny little bit of stone. So perhaps it’s a way that people were able to live and be more mobile using the microblade technology than perhaps the earlier approach. Whether this is driven by cultural change or whether it is because of environmental shifts that were going on, we really don’t know yet. So we are sort of looking into both areas of explanation, or maybe it’s a combination - we just don’t know.