RESEARCH BEGINS ON KWADAY
VICTORIA, April 18,
2000 – Scientific research projects have begun on the human
remains and some of the material recovered from the archeological
site discovered in Tatshenshini-Alsek Park in northwestern B.C.
Small Business, Tourism
and Culture Minister Ian Waddell said one of the first research
projects will be to reconstruct the man's DNA profile.
human remains is just one component of the broad multi-disciplinary
approach that’s being planned for this find. Scientists will
be able to compare their findings with what is already known
about North American indigenous peoples," said Waddell.
"There’s much we can learn from the Kwaday Dän Sinchí discovery."
Researchers at the
Royal British Columbia Museum have also begun work with other
scientists to study and conserve the animal skin robe and the
fish remains also found at the site. More projects are expected
to begin over the coming months.
So far, research proposals
involving over 30 scientists in England, Australia, the United
States, Scotland and across Canada have been received. Funding
from these proposals will allow research on the human biology
component of the Kwaday Dän Sinchí project to move ahead within
It will take several
months to complete the research now under way, and considerably
longer before any findings are likely to be made public. Now
that the research phase has begun, Waddell said, the ministry
and the Champagne and Aishihik First Nation can turn their attention
to developing a broader research strategy for the future.
"It could be
years before we learn all that we can from some of the research
projects that have been proposed," said Waddell. "Along
with allowing us a glimpse into the distant past, the legacy
of Kwaday Dän Sinchí will stretch far ahead into the future."
Further research is
also anticipated at the site of the discovery, in a glacial
field in the northwest corner of British Columbia.
has indicated the artifacts are roughly 550 years old, which
confirms that the site dates back several centuries before the
first local contact between First Nations and European culture.
In accordance with
an agreement between the Ministry of Small Business, Tourism
and Culture and the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations, the
remains and associated materials have been housed at the Royal
B.C. Museum until Dec. 31 to provide for scientific studies.
All research involving
human remains is subject to strict ethical guidelines in Canada.
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The Human Remains
- DNA research to reconstruct
the man’s DNA profile. This study is expected to provide
scientists with the basis for a comparison with what is
already known about North American indigenous peoples.
A study of trace
elements in the man’s hair, to measure relative amounts
of trace metals like zinc, lead, gold and cadmium. This
should lead to information on the environment in which
the man lived, and perhaps shed some light on his diet.
- A dietary study of bone and
hair samples to determine whether the man’s diet was primarily
marine or terrestrial-based, and how that may have changed
through his lifetime.
A study of the
scales and DNA of the fish discovered at the site. This
should provide information about the species of fish,
its age and size, the time of year it was caught, and
some clues about the prevailing environment.
of the botanical remains associated with the man, his
belongings and the site, which is also expected to provide
information on diet, and to shed light on where the man
had travelled from before his death.
the animal-skin robe found with the human remains. Information
that could be gained through this research includes: what
type of animal skins the robe is made of and how the skins
were sewn together to make the robe, as well as information
from various material caught in the robe itself, like fish
scales and plant remains.
more information, contact:
Media Relations Manager
Ministry of Small Business, Tourism and Culture
(250) 812-4854 (cell)