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The Toquaht Archaeological Project

Research at T'ukw'aa, a Nuu-chah-nulth village and defensive site in Barkley Sound, Western Vancouver Island

Alan D. McMillan, Gregory G. Monks and Denis E. St. Claire
Publication Year:
126 pages, Illustrated throughout in black & white, and colour.
BAR number:


The Toquaht Archaeological Project was led by the authors in cooperation with the Toquaht First Nation, one of the Nuu-chah-nulth peoples of western Vancouver Island, British Columbia. The Nuu-chah-nulth formerly lived in large villages of plank-covered houses facing the sea, relying on a wide variety of fish species and marine mammals, including large whales. This volume presents research results from T'ukw'aa, the ancient village in Barkley Sound from which the modern Toquaht derive their name. This location, occupied for over 1,000 years, includes a defensive headland, or “fortress,” that provided a lookout location and place of refuge during hostilities. Ethnographic and ethnohistoric descriptions of Toquaht life are followed by discussion of archaeological research at T'ukw'aa to examine life prior to contact with Europeans and immediately after. All excavated materials, including faunal remains and artifacts, are described and assessed, providing insights into past lifeways in this outer-coast community.

Alan D. McMillan has published extensively on the archaeology and ethnography of the Northwest Coast, particularly focusing on the Nuu-chah-nulth of western Vancouver Island.

Gregory G. Monks is retired after a four-decade career as a zooarchaeologist. He has authored journal articles, book chapters, and edited two books.

Denis E. St. Claire has conducted extensive research with the Nuu-chah-nulth peoples of Barkley Sound for over four decades.

‘The quality of the data in this volume is excellent, reflecting the consistently high quality of previous works by these authors. This volume will unquestionably be of interest to those involved in the archaeology of the Northwest Coast of North America.’ Dr. Trevor Orchard, University of Toronto Mississauga