Located just 2 miles east of Mission, walking distance from Fraserview Anglers Retreat is one of BC’s important Heritage Sites. Dating back further than the Egyptian pyramids, Xá:ytem is a reminder of the past. One of the things that makes Xá:ytem unique is the blending of science with Native oral tradition. At Xá:ytem visitors are afforded an opportunity not only to see archaeology in action but also to explore the science of archaeology for themselves.
Archaeologists at Xá:ytem excavated down to a 10 by 12-meter house floor approximately 3.5 meters below ground level. The exposed ‘floor’ of the house revealed that it had been specially prepared with packed sand and clay. A dozen dark, circular patches of soil are the remains of the house’s supporting wooden posts called post-mould features. Since the dwelling may have been occupied over a 300-year period, the post-mould features likely belong to several occupations and renovations. Imagine the archaeologist’s job of sorting out when and how many times the house was renovated!
In 1894, anthropologist Charles Hill-Tout opened one of the burial mounds near Xá:ytem. Since then, over 350 prehistoric sites and an additional 200 sacred sites have been recorded in the traditional Stó:lō territory. This represents only a portion of the Fraser Valley which has been surveyed for heritage sites. Today, the heritage staff at Stó:lō Nation is working to record and preserve the traditional village sites, seasonal camps, ceremonial and spiritual places in their territory.
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