Phoenix Academy students spent the day at Wanuskewin Heritage Park.
A Step Back in Time Walk
Step back in time with one of our interpretive guides on the Path of the People. This walk incorporates the archaeological story of Wanuskewin and will give you a glimpse of what life was like on the prairie long ago.
Tidbits about what the students were introduced to on this wonderful trip.
Wanuskewin: “Gathering Place”
Six thousand years ago, Wanuskewin echoed with the thundering hooves of bison and the voices of Indigenous peoples from across the Northern Plains; the land still echoes with these stories that Wanuskewin is proud to share with the people. The nomadic tribes who roamed the Northern Plains gathered on this site of natural beauty where today visitors can relive the stories of a people who came here to hunt bison, gather food and herbs and escape the winter winds. Walking in their footsteps, you will understand why this site was a place of worship and celebration, of renewal with the natural world and of a deep spirituality.
The story of Wanuskewin is just beginning to be uncovered. Some archaeological dig sites date back thousands of years making them older than the Egyptian pyramids; these sites provide clues to the daily existence of the early peoples. Tipi rings, stones cairns, pottery fragments, plant seeds, projectile points, egg shell fragments and animal bones all give evidence of active thriving societies. While some sites teach us about life thousands of years ago other sites like the ancient Medicine Wheel still remain shrouded in mystery.
Wanuskewin is an archaeological goldmine, rich in sites that tell the story of early life in the Opimihaw Creek Valley, with finds in the area taking us as far back as 6,000 years.
Wanuskewin is Canada’s longest-running archaeological dig. Famed archaeologist Dr. Ernie Walker and his fellow researchers have been unearthing treasures since the 1970s and continue to do so today. In May and June you can find some of Dr. Ernie Walker’s archaeology students from the University of Saskatchewan working at one of the many dig sites at Wanuskewin.
|12,000 BP*||Glacier recedes|
|6,000 BP||First known human occupation occurs at Wanuskewin|
|2,000 BP||Appearance of bow and arrow and pottery technology signalling dramatic technological changes for area inhabitants|
|2,000 – 500 BP||Operation of bison jumps and traps at Wanuskewin|
|1,500 BP||Construction of the Medicine Wheel at Wanuskewin|
|1876||Treaty Six signed signalling the end of occupation at Wanuskewin by Plains First Nations groups|
|1902||Homesteading begins at Wanuskewin|
|1932||Saskatoon Archaeological Society recognizes importance of area after visiting Medicine Wheel|
|1975||Medicine Wheel examined for any astrological alignment|
|1982||Archaeologist Dr. Ernie Walker and other researchers conduct a detailed archaeological survey, identifying 19 Pre-Contact sites|
|1984||Province of Saskatchewan designates Wanuskewin a Provincial Heritage Property|
|1987||Her Royal Highness, Queen Elizabeth II visits the park and designates it a National Historic Site on behalf of the Government of Canada|
|1992||Wanuskewin Heritage Park Interpretive Centre opens|
|*BP: Before Present|
“For thousands of years, this valley was a magnet that pulled people from thousands of miles away to one concentrated area. Today, it’s an unparalleled archaeological resource and we’ve only scratched its surface.”
– Dr. Ernest G. Walker
Archaeologist I Faculty member at the University of Saskatchewan I Original and Founding Board Member of Wanuskewin Heritage Park