tDAR Logo tDAR digital antiquity

‘Rerighting’ history - c̓əsnaʔəm: the city before the city

Author(s): Susan Rowley ; Leona Sparrow ; Jordan Wilson ; Larissa Grant ; Jason Woolman

Year: 2017

» Downloads & Basic Metadata


c̓əsnaʔəm is an ancient Musqueam village and cemetery located in what has become contemporary Vancouver. Over the past 125 years, archaeologists, collectors, and treasure hunters have mined c̓əsnaʔəm for artefacts and ancestral remains for their collections. The land has also been given various names since colonialism, including Great Fraser Midden, Eburne Midden, DhRs-1, and Marpole Midden. Today, intersecting railway lines, roads, and bridges to Vancouver Airport obscure the heart of Musqueam’s traditional territory, yet c̓əsnaʔəm’s importance to the Musqueam community remains undiminished. In 2012 c̓əsnaʔəm became the subject of public controversy and debate when burials were exposed during construction. This led to a 200+ day community vigil at the site and eventual purchase of the property by Musqueam. Intense public debates took place about the rights of private property holders versus the rights of Indigenous communities and the very nature of public space. Who defines heritage? Who decides what is preserved? Whose heritage is celebrated? c̓əsnaʔəm: the city before the city is a series of three museum exhibitions pointing to the city and histories of development with a new lens. In this talk we discuss the role of community voice and public archaeology in this exhibitions.

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Cite this Record

‘Rerighting’ history - c̓əsnaʔəm: the city before the city. Susan Rowley, Leona Sparrow, Jordan Wilson, Larissa Grant, Jason Woolman. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430128)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -169.717; min lat: 42.553 ; max long: -122.607; max lat: 71.301 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16541

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America