Walking island shorelines, you can often find black ashy soil with layers broken seashells. Archaeologists call these "shell middens," and they are sites that testify to the richly sustaining ecosystems in our islands. They mark the Coast Salish peoples' continual inhabitation of the islands, dating from recent history to more than 9,000 years ago. For more information about middens, visit Working Effectively with Aboriginal Peoples.com.
If you find a shell midden (protected by BC legislation), cairn, or artifacts on your property, leave everything where you found it until an archaeologist can look at it with you. Call the Archaeology Branch at (250) 953-3334 and take photographs if you can, for your own records and for research.
For more info about your role in protecting middens and other cultural sites, please visit www.for.gov.bc.ca/archaeology/faq.htm