The Red Hill Valley Archaeological Project is being displayed at the GREAT Atrium from now until June 27. In partnership with the Red Hill Valley Joint Stewardship board – comprised of three members each from the City of Hamilton and the Haudenosaunee Confederacy of Chiefs Council – the showcase displays a selection of archaeological artifacts from the Red Hill Valley area and is free to the public.
The artifacts on exhibit cover 12,000 years of Onkwehon:we occupation in the Red Hill Valley. Some of the objects include pre-contact stone tools, pottery, polished bone implements, net-sinkers and tobacco pipes. The display includes Euro-Canadian historical objects as well, including ceramic dining wares, utensils and personal items.
According to Sheri Longboat, the Coordinator for the Joint Stewardship Board, “It’s a modest display. The artifacts themselves were found when the original cultural assessment was done in 1996 called the Cultural Heritage Resource Assessment. It was done before the highway was built. Since the Red Hill Valley falls within Hamilton jurisdiction it was the City that hired the archaeological team.” The team recovered around one hundred banker boxes of artifacts from the area. After an ancient 3,000 year old Haudenosaunee village was found, Longboat told Two Row Times that the layout of the highway was redesigned and moved as to not interfere with the ancient site.
“We are excited about bringing together this display. It’s a wonderful opportunity for everyone to come out and re-discover the rich history we share in the valley,” explained Longboat. “Learning from our past is a key to a healthy and vibrant future, and there is so much we can gain from understanding our historic relationships with the valley.”
When asked why the Joint Stewardship Board displayed the more recent 1800’s European artifacts found in the Red Hill Valley, Longboat explained, “The (European) artifacts were found there naturally, it shows our cultural history in the valley. It shows we have a historical connection and hopefully will bring us closer together in the hope we can protect the land collectively.”
In a press release, “The Joint Stewardship Board is a commitment between the Haudenosaunee and City of Hamilton to collaborative environmental guardianship of the Red Hill Valley. Grounded in the spirit of shared responsibilities. The Board brings together unique and different knowledge and resources in order to restore and protect the Red Hill Valley for future generations.”