A Glimpse of 11,000-year Old Inhabitants of Alberta

Dr. Len Hills

Dr. Len Hills

Tuesday, December 12th, 2000 – 10:30 AM MST
The Westin Hotel, Calgary


The St. Mary Dam, completed in 1950, recently required modification of its spillway. This resulted in lowering of water levels in the reservoir by about 10 metres. This allowed wind action to erode exposed late Pleistocene and Holocene sediments. Shayne Tolman visited the site with two of his sons, found a projectile point that stimulated his interest and resulted in his finding several paleoindian points and an extinct bison.

Subsequent work has recovered a large late Pleistocene fauna, including tracks of mammoth, horse, camel and caribou and remains of horse, bison, caribou, canids, ground squirrels, badger, beaver and a number of as yet unidentified species.

The site is unique in a number of ways; 1) all tracks come from the same horizon, indicating contemporaneity of the fauna; 2) the tracks require a unique set of circumstances for their preservation; 3) this represents a faunally very rich site, which, based on associated human artifacts, includes man; 4) the site has been Carbon 14 dated between 11,000 and 11,350; and 5) this is the oldest well-dated archaeological site in Alberta and is the second oldest in Canada.


Dr. Len Hills

Native Albertan born in Judah, Alberta


1960 B.Sc. (Hons) Geology, UBC - minors in Botany and Archaeology
1962 M.Sc. Geology (Palynology), UBC
1965 Ph.D. Geology (Palynology), UBC

1965-1966 - Exploration Palynologist, Shell Canada
1966-1996 - Professor of Geology, the University of Calgary


Include more than 100 on stratigraphy, sedimentology, palynology, vertebrate paleontology and archaeology (authored and co-authored)

Editorships include the Bulletin of Canadian Petroleum Geology, 3 CSPG Memoirs, the Geophysical Atlas of Western Canadian Hydrocarbon Pools and Arctic Journal of the Arctic Institute of NA (edited and co-edited).

Offices held:

President: The Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists

Chairman: Science Advisory Committee, ECA Northern Studies Training Program (current)

Vice-President: Calgary Centre of the Archaeological Society of Alberta

Graduate Student Supervision: 45 M.Sc. and Ph.D. and more than 200 external