Great Fraser Midden, 1908
The Great Fraser Midden, or Marpole Midden, was revealed in 1884 during road construction. Middens often consist of sea shells as well as bones, implements, and other cultural objects, essentially the ancient refuse heaps of First Nation villages. This one, however, turned out to be a major archaeological (re)discovery of a village that occupied a 3.5 acre site from about 1500 years ago until a couple centuries ago and known by its Musqueum name, c̓əsnaʔə. The centre of the midden is the parking lot of the old Fraser Arms Hotel and is up to fifteen feet deep in some places, making it a treasure trove of archaeological artifacts. The discovery of human remains also indicate that it is an ancient burial ground.
Although numerous artifacts, skulls and other remains have already been pillaged by collectors, museums, and archaeologists, much of the site remains intact, but is currently threatened by development in the area. One project, a condo development at 1338 SW Marine Drive, has sparked a call for a protest tomorrow, March 12, the day construction is scheduled to begin.
For more of this history, see Susan Roy, “‘Who Were these Mysterious People?’: c̓əsnaʔə, the Marpole Midden, and the Dispossession of Aboriginal Lands in British Columbia, BC Studies, no. 152, Winter 2006/07
Source: Photo by Philip Timms, City of Vancouver Archives #677-521