Stone by Stone: Exploring Ancient Sites on the Canadian Plains

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Heritage House, 2005 - Social Science - 176 pages
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The prairie past belongs primarily to the First Nations, the inhabitants who occupied what is today Southern Alberta and Saskatchewan - a huge expanse of billowing grassland - for at least 12,000 years. Before European settlement they were nomads, anchoring their lives only to the buffalo, upon which they depended for virtually everything: food, shelter, clothing, implements. Touching the land only lightly in their seasonal buffalo rounds, the first people nevertheless left signs of their passage-in enduring stone. In Stone by Stone, Liz Bryan explores today's Canadian short-grass prairies in search of these tangible relics. She finds ancient villages still marked by the circles of stone that held down their tipi homes, larger circles that archaeologists call 'ceremonial' for want of a proven purpose, buffalo jumps, vision-quest sites, enigmatic cairns and medicine wheels (no two alike), and the great puzzles of the effigies, figures of men and beasts laid out on hilltops. And there are rock-art sites where the ancients inscribed the pictures and symbols of their world, allowing us to see, however briefly and imperfectly, into their lives. and evocative evidence of ancient lives as compelling as any Old World monument-and in some cases, far older. Many of these sites can be visited today. Stone by Stone is a guidebook to these places, with directions and explanations. While it examines the historic past of the First Nations, the book also celebrates their vibrant present, for many are eager to share their legends and traditions. Native interpreters bring the past, their past, to life at many internationally famous sites, such as Head-Smashed-in Buffalo Jump, Writing-on Stone, and Wanuskewin. Full colour throughout, with maps and plans, Stone by Stone brings a new dimension to travel in the Canadian prairies.

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About the author (2005)

Liz Bryan is a journalist with an extensive background in magazine editing and publishing. She is one of British Columbia's premier travel writer/photographers. She and her late husband, Jack, co-founded "Western Living" magazine. Liz lives in Rock Creek, BC.

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