A buffer zone has been set up around an archeological site on West Victoria Street after construction crews discovered what the city is calling a “significant find” on Wednesday morning.
City of Kamloops capital projects manager Darren Crundwell told KTW the discovery of ancestral human remains dating to before European settlement was made at about 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday in the middle of the West Victoria Street reconstruction project.
It’s not the first time artifacts have been found during the construction project, which began in April in one of the oldest areas of the city. Items previously discovered include glass bottles and a portion of a tool.
However, Wednesday’s discovery is different.
“It’s a significant find,” Crundwell said.
He said when the remains were discovered, crews immediately stopped work. The RCMP, Tk’emlups te Secwépemc (TteS) and Golder Associates were called in to control the site and it was determined the origin of the remains are not modern.
Crundwell said the exact age of the remains is not yet known, but he said it was confirmed they date back to pre-European settlement in the area.
“They just know based on what they see that it’s not modern,” Crundwell said, noting soil is taken into consideration.
The area is cordoned off and security has been put in place at the site where the remains were found.
The city said it is committed to following the Heritage Conservation Act and working with TteS to protect cultural heritage. The city and Tk’emlups plan to meet Thursday.
Crundwell said among top priorities is protecting the site.
“We’re asking the public to respect how this is going to get dealt with,” he said.
Asked if this will slow the West Victoria Street project, Crundwell said: “At this time, no.”
He said crews will take the weekend off and noted the city had anticipated the potential for archeological discovery in the area.
“We appreciate the immediate actions taken by the project team and are fully aware of the steps that have been taken, which are in line with our policies,” Tk’emlups Chief Kukpi7 Rosanne Casimir said in a release.