It's like looking for a needle in a haystack.
But for a group of archeolo-gists hired by the Kwikwetlem First Nation to search for arti-facts along a major BC Hydro project in Coquitlam, the painstaking work has paid off.
On Friday, archeologists discovered what appears to be an arrowhead that could date back thousands of years.
"It's significant in the sense that it's an indication of aboriginal use in the area," said Doug Brown, of Brown & Oakes Archaeology, the consultant hired by the band to perform the archeological work.
The piece, which is no bigger than a quarter, was found on bedrock below the crest of a steep hill at a construction site for BC Hydro's Interior to Lower Mainland (ILM) Transmission Project near Minnekhada Park.
Brown explained the piece is an unmistakable archeological find, noting some type of bone was used to flake off the edges of the arrowhead. It's a process that would not have occurred naturally, he said, adding it could be a tip from a spear.
Brown said it would be difficult to determine the exact age of the arrowhead, since the piece was found in isolation.
The archeologists had a rough idea of where to look as certain areas along the site of the project had been previously identified as possibly having archeo-logical significance.
Work at the site has stopped this week to give the archeolo-gists a chance to search the area for more artifacts.
The work is expected to take a couple of days, depending on the results. If nothing else is found, Brown said the item would be sent to a museum and the area where it was found designated an archeological site.
The work on the hydro project would then likely continue.
The ILM is essentially the twinning of the transmission line between Coquitlam and Merritt.
Chief Ron Giesbrecht said the arrowhead is an important find for the band, noting it was found within Kwikwetlem territory.
"It's very exciting for us because once again it takes us back to our lineage, however long ago," he said, noting the Kwikwetlem have a carbon-dated history going back 8,500 years.
The Katzie First Nation has also hired an archeological consultant to monitor the project in the area.
Giesbrecht said until more work can be done at the site, there is no way of knowing just how significant the arrowhead is as a find, adding the area could have been a village or a fishing camp.
But the band isn't pleased with the communication from BC Hydro.
Giesbrecht said Kwikwetlem First Nation has had a protocol agreement with the Crown corporation since 2008.
He said the band is supposed to get a call that work is being done in its territory, so an archeological dig can take place.
But Giesbrecht suggested the band was never notified in this case, and only found out through a third party also doing work at the site.
"We were unaware of any of this work," he said.
"It's total disrespect, not only to the nation, but to our ancestors as well that once travelled this route."
Giesbrecht said someone at BC Hydro needs to take responsibility for what he called a failure in communication.
Meanwhile, BC Hydro officials were not able to provide a response to The NOW prior to deadline.