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Tag Archives: Boreal Forest

Oh no, mistletoe

Although Christmas is considered to be a “Christian” holiday, many of the rituals we associate with it, such as kissing under mistletoe, are actually pagan in origin. European mistletoe (Viscum album) was considered to be a magical plant by Druidic priests because it mysteriously grew on the branches of trees without its roots reaching the soil. Further, it stayed green in winter, and produced its berries in November and December when other plants were going dormant. Druidic priests collected mistletoe from oak trees to hang in homes in the hopes that it would ward off evil. The custom of kissing under it might have grown from a Scandinavian myth regard…

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Water-lilies and Wetlands

Wetland plants are the least commonly collected and photographed plants in Manitoba for good reasons. For starters they’re protected by the most vicious gangs of thugs you can imagine: bloodthirsty mosquitoes and black flies. I’ve taken many blurry photographs in my day because I was too busy swatting mosquitoes to focus properly. No matter how good the bug jacket is, the pests always seem to find a way in. Wetland work can be utterly exhausting: walking in a bog is like taking a stair climbing class taught by Satan! I got heatstroke from doing bog work once. Further, unless you’ve got a magical inflatable boat that shrinks to the size…

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Northern Exposure- Part 3

Boreal forest archaeology is very different from my experiences in the arctic, the biggest thing of course being the trees and massive roots that run through our excavation units.  Root clippers quickly became my best friend, but when they fail there’s always the good old chainsaw to take care of a few stumps! My crew worked hard to try and delineate the post, and half-way through our excavation we realized that the building was not oriented perfectly East-West, but rather on an angle of Northwest-Southeast to the shoreline.  We were able to find some remnants of the exterior walls, and the floor boards were fairly well-preserved. We didn’t find a…

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Historical Event in Cross Lake

I recently returned from the community of Cross Lake with a great experience I want to share. We experimented with cooking a meal inside a replica clay pot over a campfire. It wasn’t until we were cooking that we realized that it has probably been over 300 years since a meal was cooked inside a clay pot in northern Manitoba. The pot was made by Grant Goltz (Minnesota) copying one from Minnesota that is over 900 years old. Grant generously loaned the pot so we could cook a meal. You may ask “how is this relevant to archaeology?”. Broken pot sherds are often found at ancient camp sites and we…

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