Destroying cave only way to gather information

"Removing the roof of a cave on Skirt Mountain in Langford was the most feasible option to collect information, said Justine Batten, director of the archeology branch in the Ministry of Tourism Sports and the Arts.
A representative of the Songhees First Nations charged yesterday that destroying the cave, which is sacred to aboriginal people, is a form of cultural genocide.
"The roof of the cave was looked at by a professional geologist and found to be too unstable to be entered and worked within to conduct the assessment,'' Batten said. "So the only way to safely examine this cave is to take the roof off.''
Batten said the assessment requires digging test holes in the floor of the cave and there was concern that the roof wouldn't hold up under that kind of activity. "We're not going to ask anybody to risk their life.''
The only way to know if this is a protected site "is if we can obtain some verification that it falls within the parameters of the legislation,'' she said. "If we don't have that verification, we're not protecting it in any event.
"There is often the situation with archeology where, to preserve the information, you in fact have to destroy the site. The idea is if you can't maintain the site itself, you then at least collect the information so that everybody in the future has access to that information because it tells us something about our past.''
The floor of the cave is covered with cobbles, or large stones. Batten said the hope is that "in the sediment beneath those cobbles, there may be cultural information'' such as human remains, tools or other evidence the cave was used in the past. If such material is found, it may be extracted, she said." (...)
Full text: Canada.com

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