Aikens Experience delves into history
Aug. 23, 2011
The wonderful, beautiful summer just keeps rollin’ on in paradise. In previous issues of our Newsletter, we have talked about how the long hot summer was spawning new and exciting ways for our guests to get the most out of customizing their “Aikens Experience”.
One huge asset of Aikens Lake is the array of magnificent golden beaches scattered all around its shoreline. In normal and low water years those beaches become denuded, exposing the fine sand that invite the swimmers, the tanners and the walkers. While walking along the beaches, especially after several years of high water, one’s mind can meander through various thoughts about who walked these shores hundreds or maybe thousands of years ago and what their life was like. Perhaps if they are attentive and very, very lucky, they will come upon a piece of the history, churned and regurgitated by the beach for centuries. Imagine the feeling of finding an artefact and being the first person in 1500 years to hold piece in your hands. The magic invariably carries you like a time traveller through history while getting a “real feel” for the original hunters and fishers of Aikens Lake.
About two dozen artefacts found over the last two decades, have been itemized and studied by Dr. Virginia Petch, one of Manitoba’s foremost anthropologist. These items include several types of projectile points from tiny bird and mammal arrowheads to large spear points. Also included are several tools such as stone drills and knives and scrapers as well as bone awls and needles which give better clues in reconstructing the daily lives of early inhabitants. Other items such as a fur trade axe, trade beads, and hollow stones used to hold fire sticks are also on exhibit at the Lodge.
A tiny arrowhead found a few weeks ago, at the very tip of the peninsula close to the Split Rock beacon, fired up the interests of guests and staff alike as some staffers returned to the tip of the peninsula and found two more pieces including an amazing knife chipped out of a flat chert and shaped to perfectly sit in the human hand that used it. Shortly thereafter, an impressed guest confessed to his life- long passion for “rock hunting” and asked if we could “guide” him on such a mission. We were anxious to help him fulfill his own version of the “Aikens Lake Experience” and took him to a long beach in the Cookie Jar. The results were instantly gratifying as he found a perfectly preserved medium sized arrowhead as well a beautiful quartz hide scrapper, also perfectly shaped to fit the user’s hand.
Manitoba law states that all artefacts found on public lands are the property of the Crown and cannot be removed from the area they are found. That law has enabled our staff as well as our guests to contribute significant pieces to the puzzle of human history and join the dots in the daily lives of the original inhabitants of Aikens Lake. We are totally thrilled to have amazing new artefacts (more to come, we hope) to bring to Dr. Petch and her colleagues. The findings will help to further unravel some of the mysteries and shed more light on the history that helps define our environment.