Artifacts B.C. Artifacts B.C. - Kosapsom


Table of

Table of

& History






Soil Profile

Time Periods


UVic Report
at DcRu4






Prehistory of Kosapsom:

About 13,000 years before present or BP, the site known as DcRu4, or Kosapsom, formed from deglaciated ice. Between 12,000 and 9,000 years BP, the nearby Gorge waterway was a shallow tidal, salt-water inlet. By 9,000 BP to 4,000 BP the Gorge waterway separated from the ocean and became a series of shallow lakes joined by streams and bogs. Between 4,000 to 2,500 years BP, the Gorge relinked with the ocean and once again became a tidal inlet. From 2,500 years BP to today it remains an ocean tidal inlet.

Glossary terms: BP, Deglaciated.

Glaciation Deglaciation Tidal Inlet Lakes Tidal Inlet Tidal Inlet
Years BP 14, 500 13, 000 12, 000 - 9000 9000 - 4000 4000 - 2500 2500 - present

South Vancouver Island
Location of Kosapsom

Coast Salish Traditions

The people of southwest coast of British Columbia (including the people from Kosapsom site) became known as 'Northern Straits'. The 'Northern Straits' people were further sub-divided into several groups: Sooke (around Sooke Harbour), Songhees / Esquimalt (around Victoria), Saanich (Brentwood, Patricia, Saanichton), Semiahmoo (Mainland around Semiahmoo Bay), Lummi (Hale Passage) and Samish (Samish and Guemes islands). Kosapsom is in the Songhees / Esquimalt territory.

At Kosapsom, subsistence revolved around fishing, hunting and gathering. Men were responsible for hunting, fishing and warfare while women's roles were to gather fruit, vegetables and shellfish. Women were also given the task of food preservation by drying or smoking. The most important natural resources that were exploited includes, salmon, herring, shellfish, marine mammals and land animals. Food was gathered seasonally and preserved. Vegetables and fruits were less abundant than the shellfish but provided enough nutrition to balance the meat consumption. The surrounding hills were abundant with cedar trees, and the trees were used to make mats, baskets, clothing, houses and canoes. The climate was mild much like it is today.

In the winter, families would come together and live in a large "plank house". The house frame was already standing, and the families staying at the house brought their house planks to the location.

Location of Kosapsom

Kosapsom lies in the Municipality of Saanich (Greater Victoria), British Columbia. The grounds are managed by the British Columbia Heritage Branch as the Craigflower Schoolhouse Historic Site. DcRu4 is a large shell midden area located on the Gorge waterway at Admirals Bridge, southeast of the junction of Admirals and Gorge Road.

Site Map

In 1850, the Colonial Government acquired Kosapsom and in 1853/54 the Craigflower schoolhouse was built. The schoolhouse was used until 1910 and then shortly after, the building was restored by the Province as a heritage attraction.

Harlan Smith (1907:pg.355) noted that in the late 1890's, the north side of the Gorge from Tillicum Bridge to Admiral's bridge, there was a "continuous shell ridge, composed largely of pure shell material". Most of this shell ridge has been obliterated and cannot be seen today because of the Gorge Waterway Project, which included the construction of a sea wall, walkways and extensive landscaping. However, the archaeological site lies beyond the boundaries of the Gorge Waterway Project and therefore the stratigraphy is relatively undisturbed.

Glossary terms: Stratigraphy.


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