Ancient logs dated at 5,500 years old have been uncovered in Sechelt and the district is now considering what to do with them.
Tony Greenfield of the Sunshine Coast Natural History Society (SCNHS) was before council on Sept. 7 asking the district to take ownership of one or more of the logs for display, along with interpretive signage, in Sechelt.
Greenfield said the 10 logs, each about three or four metres in length, were uncovered when Wakefield Homes was excavating for The Watermark site in Sechelt a few years ago.
“As they dug down through the sand and gravel and into the stagnant layer below, at about the 13 feet down level, the operators started running into a tangle of logs down there,” Greenfield said at the meeting.
Wakefield thought the logs might have some significance, so the company piled them on the side of the development and eventually the SCNHS took ownership of the logs, moved them into storage and had them radio carbon dated.
“Our experts tell us these logs are actually 5,500 years old,” Greenfield said, noting that it’s very difficult to identify the species of logs as they’ve been underground for thousands of years.
“The assumption is that these logs are beach logs that were washed onto the beach and got stranded and eventually buried.”
Greenfield said the Sechelt Indian Band has looked at the logs and has no interest in them so the SCNHS would like one or more of the logs displayed for their historic value.
“These are obviously rare, rare artifacts around the Strait of Georgia,” Greenfield said. “Given the fact these are rare artifacts, and given their age, we think that this is a very significant artifact that should be given suitable treatment by the District of Sechelt.”
Council seemed interested in doing something with at least one of the logs, with Coun. Darren Inkster commenting they were “older than the pyramids of Cheops, so that’s the historical comparison.”
Council requested a staff report to come to a future committee meeting where the SCNHS request will be discussed further.
Greenfield noted he wanted to see the district do something “fairly quickly,” and said that the SCNHS is eager to find uses for the logs. The society recently gave some sections to a local woodworking guild to turn into bowls.
Mayor Bruce Milne said he was embarrassed to admit that Sechelt doesn’t “do anything quickly, but we can try.”