Alwynne B. Beaudoin - E-SCAPE
These pages comprise a series of resources for the E-SCAPE (Edmonton component of the Study of Cultural Adaptations in the Canadian Prairie Ecozone) project. SCAPE deals with postglacial landscapes and human history in the Canadian prairies in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. The Edmonton-based research is mainly concerned with the investigation of postglacial environmental and landscape history across the Canadian prairies.

E-SCAPE research has five main foci:

Reconstruction of postglacial vegetation
Efforts are underway to reconstruct vegetation at the five specific time slices that are the concern of SCAPE: 9,000 yr BP, 6,000 yr BP, 3,000 yr BP, 1,500 yr BP, and 500 yr BP. To this, we have added a sixth time slice: 10,500 yr BP. To accomplish the reconstructions, a large database of palaeoenvironmental records has been assembled. Raw data for pollen records are being used to generate pollen percentages on a common basis. These values are being used as the basis for analysis and mapping. The database encompasses the southern parts of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba (roughly south of the present boreal forest margin) and the adjacent northern US. One intermediate product of this research is the on-line bibliography called The Lake File.

Analysis of organic-rich sediments at archaeological sites
Efforts are underway to explore the pollen (and other biotic indicator) content of organic-rich layers associated with on-going archaeological excavations. So far, sediments from the Stampede Site (DjOn-26), southern Alberta, and the Below Forks Site (FhNg-25), central Saskatchewan, have been examined. Samples have also been obtained from the St Louis Bridge Site (FfNk-7) in Saskatchewan. The pollen spectra obtained from these samples will help to pin the layers to the continuous regional records obtained from analysis of lake cores.

Analysis of macroremains from bulk samples from the Stampede Site (DjOn-26)
Macroremains, primarily plant remains (especially seeds) and molluscs, have been recovered from bulk samples. Bulk samples have been obtained from every level in every unit in the 2000-2005 excavation project. Macroremains from a subset of samples are being identified, tallied, and documented. These should provide information on very local site-specific conditions. Patterning in the distribution of macroremains throughout the site may also yield information on activities and occupation.

Establishment of baseline palaeoenvironmental records for SCAPE nodes
In order to set the archaeological record in context, a continuous palaeoenvironmental record is needed for each of the SCAPE nodes. Such records can be provided by pollen data obtained from lake cores. In consequence, a coring and analysis program has been established. In winter 2002, coring was undertaken at Elkwater Lake (southern Alberta) and Candle Lake (central Saskatchewan). In winter 2004, we obtained cores from Wakaw Lake and Rhona Lake (central Saskatchewan). Other sites from which samples have been obtained include:
From Alberta
  • Several GeoProbe cores from the Elkwater landslide, west of Elkwater Lake
  • Cores from the meadow between the Stampede Site and Elkwater Lake
  • The Robinson Site, north of the Cypress Hills
From Saskatchewan
  • Lost River channel
  • St Laurent Ferry Fen
  • Bible School Site
  • Intake Site

Deriving baseline modern pollen data
Interpretion of Holocene pollen records requires calibration by modern pollen data. This is particularly critical for two of the SCAPE nodes which are located near present ecological boundaries. The Stampede Site is located near the lower treeline in the Cypress Hills; the Below Forks site is located near the southern boreal forest margin in central Saskatchewan. The pollen records from each area are expected to reflect shifts in the character and position of these boundaries. To calibrate the modern situation, a surface pollen sampling program has been initiated at these two nodes.
Documenting E-SCAPE
Keeping track of the enormous quantities of data generated through E-SCAPE research is a considerable challenge! The following items offer information about these documentation efforts:
EPIC - E-SCAPE Photographic Image Catalogue
Photographs, slides, diagrams, digital images! The number and range of images produced during fieldwork and laboratory-based documentation is large and ever-increasing. To keep track of these images, with their associated meta-data, we have developed a simple flat-file cataloguing system, named EPIC. In order to see the organization and range of information tracked by EPIC, you may view some sample records (pdf file).

Sample tracking
Cores and samples are often used for several different types of analyses. To keep track of these, and assist our SCAPE colleagues, we are maintaining a detailed spreadsheet of sample information. This changes from day to day as the work proceeds. You may, however, view an older version (as of March 2004) of this list (pdf file).
Supporting analyses
Reference samples of pollen and seeds have been collected to assist in the identification of samples from the E-SCAPE work. These samples have been processed and added into existing reference collections and relevant databases.

E-SCAPE products
A list of publications, documents, theses, and presentations that have been produced under the auspices of E-SCAPE.

Who's Who on the E-SCAPE crew
Many people were involved in E-SCAPE research during 2000-2005 and subsequent years. Meet some members of the crew!

Exhibits and media attention
Information about exhibits that feature E-SCAPE research and materials. News releases and news stories that highlight the work of E-SCAPE.

An on-line bibliography of project-related publications and resources, intended as background information for on-going work.
Number of citations: 558. Latest changes/additions to the list: May 21 2012.

The Lake File
An on-line listing of palaeoenvironmental sites in the SCAPE study area and beyond, with information and references. Now includes a "fly-to" feature, using GoogleEarth, that displays site location.
Number of sites: 547. Number of citations: 589. Latest changes/additions to the list: September 5 2012.

SCAPE website
For more background on the project, including a list of the people involved, the results and achievements, check out the official SCAPE website.

Acknowledgements: E-SCAPE research is based at the Royal Alberta Museum, Edmonton. The Museum provides essential curatorial and logistical support for this work. This research was also partly funded (2000-2005) by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) through an MCRI Grant #412-99-1000.

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