The Hamlet of Bodo, Alberta (two following photos) is located near the southeastern part of M.D. No. 52 and has a population of approximately 27 people. The community is home to heavy crude oil and has drawn interest over the years for experimental processes like steam injection to the the valuable resource out of the ground. Centre picture shows a business in Bodo that provides local employment in the area oilpatch. Bottom picture shows what was once the Bodo School but now students are bussed to Provost Public and St. Thomas Aquinas Schools in Provost. The building was renovated and turned into a community centre that now houses the Bodo Archaeological Centre. © Provost News Photo.
1,000 Year Old Pottery, Other Materials
Impress Archeologists at Bodo Dig

Private archeologists working at a dig near Bodo were impressed with what they discovered and say the find will likely be declared a "significant archeological site" by the Alberta government. There are only about 30 to 40 such sites in all of Alberta. Terrance Gibson, Ph.D., of Alberta Western Heritage Inc., St. Albert who was at the site told The News in an interview a few kms southwest of Bodo on July 13, 2000 the find is "highly significant" because of the quantity of materials and that they are intact, well pre-served and defined. Gibson, who was also at a nearby site doing work several years ago (PN Jan. 17, 1996) smiled and said "we’re back—big time!" and pointed out that the Bodo find is one of the largest pre-historical archeological sites in Alberta. The archeologist, who has 13 years of formal training said that the Bodo site has the potential to be an "incredible interpretive centre" on par with the World Heritage site called Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump in southern Alberta or Wanuskewin Heritage Park (a national historic site) north of Saskatoon. The area is "just loaded with stuff." Bison bones, pottery and other items appear to be up to 1,000 years old. Gibson says that the pottery find is "quite rare" in Alberta. Metal arrow points have also been found that were likely in use 1500 to 1700 A.D. indicate Indians or "ancestral aboriginals" (now often called First Nations people) at that time had been trading with Europeans. The archeologists are not sure if the people were from the Blackfoot or Plains Cree nations or some other group. This area was the traditional boundary between the Blackfoot and the Cree. This particular site was used to trap bison in a pound where they were killed by shooting numerous small arrows into them. The people knew what they were doing, says Gibson. Other animals were likely brought there for butchering and bones like antelope, dog, wolf and birds are expected to be found. No human bones have been discovered.
Archeologists Terrance Gibson (left) and Dale Russell examine what appears to be a hearth on the floor of a tepee near Bodo during the summer of 2000. Gibson says that the find in the area is significant. ©Provost News Photo
The archeologists have found that the site has multiple histories (used years apart) and contains quite a variety of bison bones. The site is fragile but can still last a long time, according to Gibson. "We are just touching this site" working eight to 10 hours per day. The site is approximately 36 kms. southeast of Provost and appears to be bigger than Wanuskewin, "We don’t even know what’s here . . . it’s huge and we don’t even know how huge." Gibson says the main difference between the other two well known sites and this one is that Bodo is laid out differently. His firm was called in because of a provincial law that kicked in when development of the land was to begin again. Murphy Oil Co. Ltd. took over the site this spring from UPR (who had bought out Norcen Energy) and wants to work on getting more oil out of the nearby ground. Murphy Oil will have to pay for the archeological work, and says Gibson, "that isn’t cheap." There will be months of work sifting through the debris. "Private industry is driving a lot of understanding about Alberta’s history" he added. The plan is to let Murphy Oil get the oil out of the ground while still preserving the heritage of the site. The archeological team also discovered a rich bison bone discard pile and found a bone needle Thursday morning. The site is on land owned by Larry Heck while another nearby site also rich with artifacts is owned by Richard Heck.

Government archeologists who were invited to the site confirmed that the find is very important, and were very impressed? says Gibson. The team is now completing a major assessment and will then cap the area that they have been digging in (approximately 70 by 90 metres) with clay to preserve the relics underneath. "The site just keeps getting bigger and bigger" and up until now there had been no oil activity on the site since it was first discovered several years ago. Arrangements will be made to have satellite images of the area taken. By law, artifacts are property of the Crown which will wind up in the Provincial Museum, but if a local museum can demonstrate that they can properly look after the relics, they can all be returned to the community. Bags and bags of relics were sitting nearby an excavation site on Thursday and a car had already been "loaded" full of material and taken to a lab for analysis. "I’ve been working 25 years as an archeologist and this is as big as I’ve ever seen. It was amazing what we found here" says Gibson.
Return to Other Communities

Return to