Archaeology at the Healing Site

During the summers of 2003 and 2004, students from the Behavioural Health Foundation, grade school classes from Winnipeg and rural Manitoba, experienced archaeologists, and families and individuals interested in learning about archaeology participated in a public archaeology program at the HealingSite. The site is located on the property of the Behavioural Health Foundation (formerly known as the Selkirk Healing Centre) a few kilometers north of Selkirk, Manitoba on the west bank of the Red River. Participants had the opportunity of working with archaeologists in both field and laboratory settings. Over 22,000 artifacts were recovered from twelve-one metre excavation units and 48 shovel test units during the two-year project. The results of all efforts tell a story about the history of the people who lived at this location from present times to 1,250 years ago. Insights were gained into what the people ate, what tools they made, how they used the rich resources of the local environment, their interactions with other people and use of the Red River valley as a travel corridor.

Public programming was certainly the central aspect of this project. However, outside financial assistance, donation of in-kind materials and volunteer support allowed several specialized analyses to be conducted, which led to a better understanding of the many uses of the site. This same support also made possible the development of a permanent interactive exhibit containing artifacts from the Healing Site and an educational component for students. The public archaeology program involved 177 people volunteering for at least one day. The 2004 school program ran for four weeks with seventeen schools or 398 students and 47 teachers and assistants. Students from the Behavioural Health Foundation participated during both years. A special program was developed for the Healing Hands Daycare children in order to have them participate. Between 2005 and 2007, researchers, volunteers and staff have worked on the analysis, report, exhibit and edukit. In total, there have been over 600 people who have contributed to the project, starting with its conceptualization in 2002 to completion of the exhibit, edukit and report in 2008.

To learn and read more about the Healing Site, order the journal from the MAS at

Visit the daily excavation blogs link on the left to explore the crew's findings at the Healing Site.