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Distributed for Athabasca University Press

Alberta’s Lower Athabasca Basin

Archaeology and Palaeoenvironments

Over the past two decades, the oil sands region of northeastern Alberta has been the site of unprecedented levels of development. Alberta’s Lower Athabasca Basin tells a fascinating story of how a catastrophic ice age flood left behind a unique landscape, one that made deposits of bitumen available for surface mining. Less well known is the discovery that this flood also produced an environment that supported perhaps the most intensive use of boreal forest resources by prehistoric Native people yet recognized in Canada. Touching on various elements of this rich environmental and archaeological record, this collection offers new insights into human and natural history.

568 pages


Table of Contents

Introduction: The Archaeological Heritage of Alberta’s Lower Athabasca Basin / Brian M. Ronaghan

Part 1: Postglacial Environments

1 A Tale of Two Floods: How the End of the Ice Age Enhanced Oil Sands Recovery—and Decimated the Fossil Record / James A. Burns and Robert R. Young

2 Glacial Geology and Land-Forming Events in the Fort McMurray Region / Timothy G. Fisher and Thomas V. Lowell

3 Raised Landforms in the East-Central Oil Sands Region: Origin, Age, and Archaeological Implications / Robin J. Woywitka, Duane G. Froese, and Stephen A. Wolfe

4 Kearl Lake: A Palynological Study and Postglacial Palaeoenvironmental Reconstruction of Alberta’s Oil Sands Region / Luc Bouchet and Alwynne B. Beaudoin

Part 2: Human History

5 The Early Prehistoric Use of a Flood-Scoured Landscape in Northeastern Alberta / Grant M. Clarke, Brian M. Ronaghan, and Luc Bouchet

6 A Chronological Outline for the Athabasca Lowlands and Adjacent Areas / Brian O. K. Reeves, Janet Blakey, and Murray Lobb

7 Lower Athabasca Archaeology: A View from the Fort Hills / Robin J. Woywitka

8 The Early Human History of the Birch Mountains Uplands / John W. Ives

Part 3: Lithic Resource Use

9 Beaver River Sandstone: Characteristics and Use, with Results of Heat Treatment Experiments / Eugene M. Gryba

10 The Organization of Lithic Technology at the Quarry of the Ancestors / Nancy Saxberg and Elizabeth C. Robertson

11 Microblade Technology in the Oil Sands Region: Distinctive Features and Possible Cultural Associations / Angela M. Younie, Raymond J. Le Blanc, and Robin J. Woywitka

Part 4: Archaeological Methods

12 Quarries: Investigative Approaches in the Athabasca Oil Sands / Gloria J. Fedirchuk, Jennifer C

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