Archaeologists on Vancouver Island, Canada, are keeping quiet about a trove of First Nations artifacts they have uncovered for fear that looters will pillage the site.
Snuneymuxw First Nation archeologist Lorraine Littlefield said she wants the community to learn about the interesting find that’s been uncovered, but is worried publicity will lure pot hunters to the site, who steal and possibly sell such relics. “You do get the odd individual or two who are really determined to collect,” said Littlefield, adding she will likely go public later this summer.
Andrew Mason, a Vancouver archeologist, wants to find out how deep this problem really goes. He’s writing an article about archeological site-looting in Canada for a UNESCO publication, but said the government doesn’t always keep track of how often these ancient sites are raided by thieves. Without that information, it’s impossible to know how much of Canada’s ancient heritage is being stolen or how to stop it.