Bodo Archeological Site

We visited the Bodo Archeological Site on May 20, 2018 with six other friends as part of our May long weekend camping trip (see Braedyn’s post about Gooseberry Lake Provincial Park ( Bodo was by far the highlight of our camping trip for me, and I have to thank Braedyn for discovering it and suggesting we go.

The Bodo Archeological Site spans a 200 ha area about 35 kilometres south of Provost, AB. The Bodo site is one of the largest, most well preserved pre-contact archeological sites in Western Canada. The site has evidence from multiple time periods of human activity dating back to 5000 years ago. The Bodo Archeological Society manages the site, offering drop in tours, kids camps, archeological dig camps (for adults!), and school programs. You can visit their website for more details (

We arrived in Bodo, AB at about 1:30pm. As of 2016, the population of Bodo was 20 according to the Statistics Canada population census, so it seemed like an unlikely place for a major archeological site. The Archeological Society is found in Bodo’s community centre. We were feeling quite sheepish as we entered because we had not realized until we arrived that closing time was at 2pm. We were greeted by a super friendly, knowledge guide who was more than happy to give us a full tour despite the time. She was amazing!

We took her up on the offer and sat down to watch a video describing the site and its history. The video was dated but interesting, and was a good primer for the rest of the tour. Our guide then took us through the indoor displays, explaining how the different tools were created and used, the different minerals used to make arrowheads, and the different bones used to identify bison and their age. (Braedyn Comment: an interesting fact was that there has been obsidian tools found at the site. This means that because the source of this obsidian would have been B.C., people came from far away to meet in Bodo.) She had a very good display showing how the style of arrowheads have changed overtime, which I thought was particularly cool. Actually, she even offered to let us try making our own arrowheads but we all felt too badly about the time to really press her to give us a go!

After touring the indoor displays we stepped out back to try our hand at spear throwing using an atlatl! An atlatl is a simple device that using leverage to increase the speed and distance at which you can throw the spear. I would highly recommend coming to Bodo and trying this. It was so fun and I think a lot of people in our group would have been happy to just keep throwing spears and see how far we could get them. (Braedyn Comment: Of course I was the numero uno at this event.)

After spear throwing we boarded a bus and went out to look at an old dig site. We showed up quite early in the season (in fact, we were the first tour of the year) and so the new dig site was not prepared yet. It was fun to get out and see last year’s site though. The site was already revegetated but our guide brought a bunch of photos to show us while she explained how the dig sites functioned and what they were finding.

We also got to climb on some sand dunes while we were out looking at the dig site. The dunes were mostly vegetated but there was exposed sand in areas. Getting up a little higher gives one a much better impression of the landscape: rolling hills as far as you can see. I really enjoyed the landscape in this area as it’s much less flat than the Edmonton area. (Braedyn comment: This made up for the fact that we never found the Wainwright Dunes earlier that day.)

If you are in the Provost area, you should do yourself a service and visit Bodo. I learned so much while visiting the Bodo Archeological Society! The staff’s passion for archeology really shines through. Our tour was informative, fun, and honestly made me realize how cool archeology is!