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Monashee Mountain Internment Camp - Day 4: Whisky Bottles and Vertebra

Written by: Nikki Simon

July 23rd 2021

Day 4 started quite a bit later than usual. Being the very important person she is, Sarah had a webinar regarding Best Practices in Remote Sensing and Grave Detection in Vernon quite early in the morning. By the time she had driven there, attended the webinar, drove back, and we reached our work site, it was about 1:30 in the afternoon!

Despite being a short day, it was a mighty one – for Rory and Keagan anyways. In the time that we had, three new test pits were opened in the same area as the day before, one in the space in front of the floor unit a little closer to the trench and two more inside the trench where Sarah was having such good luck. Additionally, Sarah had Colton open up a test pit in an area covered with fine ash between the floor unit and where Katy, Chantelle, and Holly worked up the hill.

Test Pit #8 (Keagan) – Keagan's unit was a gold mine to make up for her lack of success the day before. Immediately after opening the pit, Keagan came across a thick piece of wire, seems pretty unremarkable, I'll grant you. BUT, it got crazy up in here real fast. There was (of course) the tar paper that we had been finding everywhere, seemingly lining her pit. Beyond that, though, between the depths of 18 – 25 centimetres, Keagan's pit gave: several large pieces of can, several pieces of a very fine wire mesh that we hadn't seen anywhere else, 6 nails (including 2 roofing nails), another very looooong piece of thick wire, and, finally, a second Princeton Brewing bottle cap!

Test Pit #9 (Rory) – Rory too had a very, very good day; granted, considering Rory's unit was explicitly chosen because several large pieces of metal were lying on the surface, this was not entirely unexpected. The collection on top consisted of what appeared to be bits of can and, Sarah believed, part of a stove. But what lay beneath was, first and foremost, the familiar sight of tar paper and a small amount of burnt wood; and, after that, lots and lots of glass. Clear glass, aqua glass, thick glass, thin glass – glass of all sorts! Some of the glass was determined to be window glass and some bottle glass; however, the source of an unusually thick corner piece of aqua glass was revealed when, toward the end of the day, Rory uncovered about 1/3 of an aqua glass bottle. This bottle *queue angels singing* was rectangular in shape and still had a good portion of the bottom intact with some embossing which read WALKERS X […]NOCK. From this fragment, I was able to do a little research and discovered that the bottle was likely Johnnie Walker Scotch Whisky. The company was established in 1820 and was referred to first as Walker's Kilmarnock Whisky, later as John Walker & Sons and most recently as Johnnie Walker Scotch Whisky. The signature square bottle was first introduced in 1860 by John's son Alexander, and they did use the aqua glass on occasion, usually for their Old Highland Whisky and, today, for their Blue Label Whiskey.

Test Pit #10 (Keagan) – This unit, just 2-5 feet from the other two trench units that had surrendered so much, had absolutely nothing at all in it. Not a single nail.

Test Pit #11 (Colton) – Colton's unit was specifically chosen to determine whether the area of fine ash could have been a cooking area or similar. Sadly, ash is about all that was in Colton's unit, ash and burnt wood chips.

Katy, Chantelle and Holly continued their work on the unit up the hill; unfortunately for them, their luck from the day before appeared to be continuing. On Day 4, they recovered an astounding number of beautiful rock specimens to add to their mounting collection, a handful of nails, and 3 bones belonging to a small carnivore.

Small day LOTS of finds! We bagged and tagged our goods, heading home an hour later than usual in an attempt to make up for lost time. Because I know you're desperate to know; for dinner, we were treated to Beef Stroganoff. This to the profound sadness of Dan, who was absolutely sure that we were going to be having Roast Beef and Yorkshire pudding. Maybe Day 5, Dan!


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