Tuesday, October 26, 2010  
   Volume 80 - Issue 43 Website:www.passherald.ca   email: passherald@shaw.ca   $1.00   
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Quote of the Week
“I think this election has given us a fresh start and a clean slate to work with.”
- Mayor-Elect  
Bruce Decoux  
- on the 2010   
election results   


Like their 20th century counterparts, ancient peoples exploited the resources of the Crowsnest Pass, but they mined chert, not coal, and on a very much smaller scale.
Chert is a colorful sedimentary rock primarily formed of microcrystals of quartz. In the Etherington formation atop the eroded anticline of the Livingstone Ridge, chert bands occur amongst limestone in bands up to 30cm thick. It can be harder than steel, and when chipped forms curved surfaces (similar to a stone chip in a car windshield) with sharp edges. Chert has no crystalline orientation or ‘grain’, so it can be chipped in any direction. Pieces of chert can therefore be made into spear-points, knives, axe-heads or scrapers. Chert was also used for trade with other ancient peoples, with its value possibly depending on its color which may be black, purple, grey-blue, reddish brown, golden, or white.
Chert mining may have begun 8000 years ago atop what is now known as the Livingstone Range, but the most intensive mining was done by people of the Pelican Lake culture between 3000 and 1500 years ago. Mining occurred along the crest of the ridge in open pits up to a metre deep, or further down the slope in shallow shafts. Extracted chert was chipped on site, or below the quarries on sunny slopes and at camp. The Livingstone chert quarries are the largest known ancient stone quarries in the Canadian Rockies.
Hikers can visit the chert quarries on a challenging, five kilometre round-trip trail. All that is visible today are several shallow pits and a smattering of chert chunks and chips. Please do not collect or disturb these artifacts; instead, photograph them against the magnificent backdrop of Turtle Mountain.
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   Volume 80 - Issue 43 Website:www.passherald.ca   email: passherald@shaw.ca   $1.00   
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