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ćǝsnaʔǝm, the city before the city

Museum of Anthropology,
Musqueam Cultural Education Resource Centre & Gallery,
Vancouver BC – Jan 25, 2015-2016 and beyond

Bird pendant (date unknown), carved bone

Bird pendant (date unknown), carved bone [Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver BC, Jan 25, 2015-Jan 25-2016]

Happy face carving (date unknown), carved bone
Happy face carving (date unknown), carved bone [Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver BC, Jan 25, 2015-Jan 25-2016]

The focus of this multi-venue exhibition is the village of ćǝsnaʔǝm, located at what is now commonly referred to as the Vancouver neighbourhood of Marpole. First occupied some 5,000 years ago, ćǝsnaʔǝm grew to become a significant site of seafood harvesting and production, as well as a burial ground. By the time Jesus Christ was born, ćǝsnaʔǝm was among the largest of the Musqueam villages on the West Coast.

Since European contact, ćǝsnaʔǝm has undergone a number of name changes: Great Fraser Midden, Eburne Midden, DhRs-1 and Marpole Midden, to name a few. For the past 125 years, the area has been poked, prodded and plundered by archaeologists and treasure hunters. Many important aspects of its material inventory now reside in museums and private collections, locally and abroad. One of the ambitions of this exhibition is to bring the pieces together again and show them openly and widely.

According to co-curator Terry Point, “Visitors to  ćǝsnaʔǝm, the city before the city will learn it is part of a landscape, and will discover aspects of Musqueam heritage, culture and knowledge that have never before been shared with the public.”

The parts of the exhibition that are at the Museum of Anthropology and the Musqueam Nation will be up for a year. The part at the Museum of Vancouver will be up for five years.

Michael Turner



 Tue, Feb 24, 2015