Author Tags: Anthropology, First Nations, Religion

Brian Hayden began excavating one of the largest prehistoric community sites in B.C. at Keatley Creek, about 20 kilometres upstream from Lillooet, in 1986. Approximately 1,500 people resided at Keatley Creek between 1000-2000 years ago. Hayden’s ‘Fraser River investigations into corporate group archaeology project’ focuses on the explanation of why very large residential structures occur in the Lillooet region prehistorically, and why very large villages also occurred in this region. After two volumes of research were released in a conventional print format, in 2004 Keatley released some of his research on a CD-ROM entitled Ancient Past of Keatley Creek. "By using a CD-ROM," he said, "we could include the entire catalogue of artifacts for the site, more than 15,000 items with all their exact coordinates." Hayden's archaeological work has also resulted in A Complex Culture of the British Columbia Plateau. Traditional Stl'atl'imx Resource Use (UBC Press, 1992). His 15-year study of the origins of religion from the perspective of an archaeologist produced Shamans, Sorcerers and Saints: A Prehistory of Religion (Smithsonian Institute). "Religion formed strong emotional bonds between people," he said, "that helped them survive in times of starvation and other crises common in prehistoric times." In other words, religions have arisen from ecological, environmental factors in relations to reproduction and survival.

The SFU archaeology professor has attempted to popularize and demystify his discipline in Archaeology: The Science Of Once And Future Things (Smithsonian Institute, 2003). Referring to most archaeology texts he says, "They're boring books, indigestible, in fact, deadly, because they're crammed with facts and minutiae. Archaeology doesn't begin and end in the past. It begins in the present, goes through the past, ends up in the present again and has things to say about the future."


Hayden, Brian (editor). A Complex Culture of the British Columbia Plateau: Traditional Stl'atl'imx Resource Use (UBC Press, 1992).

Hayden, Brian. The Pithouses of Keatley Creek (Fort Worth, Texas: Harcourt Brace, 1997).

Hayden, Brian. Shamans, Sorcerers and Saints: A Prehistory of Religion (Smithsonian Institute, 2003).

With Suzanne Villeneuve. “Who Benefits from Complexity? A View from Futuna”. Appears in Pathways to Power: New Perspectives on the Emergence of Social Inequality. (Springer, 2010).

The Power of Feasts : From Prehistory to the
Present (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014).

Reviews of the author's work by BC Studies:
The Power of Feasts: From Prehistory to Present

[BCBW 2015] "Anthropology" "Religion" "Archaeology" "First Nations"