A collection of projectile point artefacts found by Harry Christensen on the family farm near Dalum, and which are estimated to range in age from approximately 2,000 to 4,600 years old, are being donated to the Royal Alberta Museum in Edmonton.
Harry, now in his 90s, was born and raised on a farm near Dalum, about 10 miles south of the Town of Drumheller; while he has since moved to Calgary to be closer to family, many may still remember him from his earlier years in the Drumheller Valley.
“The first was found when trapping gophers in the schoolyard (at the Dalum School),” Harry tells the Mail. “I was setting a trap and saw what looked like a rock in the dirt the gopher had kicked out of the hole, and I picked it up…an arrowhead!”
This was around 1938 or 1939 according to Harry, and he found a second one only days later.
In total, Harry estimates he found about 30 or 40 arrowheads by about 1979 to 1980; most of his collection was found on the farm.
One in particular Harry found while he was cultivating the field with a team of horses. He spotted something on the ground in front of the cultivator and shouted for the horses to stop. Once he got them to stop, Harry says he had to dig in the soil about two feet and found what, on initial inspection, looked like a rock; on closer inspection, it was an arrowhead.
“I found quite a few over the years, but my brother, Joe, says he never found a single one,” Harry laughs, joking he must have had a special touch for finding them.
With Harry getting a little long in the tooth and now living in a care facility in Calgary, his nephew Harold Whittaker decided to reach out to the Royal Alberta Museum regarding his uncle’s collection, and attached a photo of Harry’s collection.
“I contacted Kyle Forsythe, Curator of Archaeology at the Royal Alberta Museum in Edmonton, to inquire if the museum would be interest in Harry’s projectile point collection,” says Harold.
Mr. Forsythe responded to Harold’s email, expressing interest in the donation of the collection. Based solely on the photo Harold attached, Mr. Forsythe estimated the projectile point collection contained items ranging from 2,000 to 4,600 years old from various Indigenous groups who manufactured distinctive styles of projectile points including Pelican Lake, Oxbow, and McKean.
Harry is very pleased and happy to donate his collection, which will be mailed to the Royal Alberta Museum before the end of August where it will undergo additional examination of the physical artefacts.