Setting the Bones
Bones Evidence of Early Life” ( Torch, Spring
2004). My interest in this article is more
than casual since I am the individual who wrote
the original proposal to conduct a palaeontological
investigation of K1 cave, and who brought the
first samples back to UVic.
I am the 2002 recipient of
the Jubilee Medal for Social sciences, a two-time
recipient of the President’s Scholarship
for Part-time Studies, an NSERC PGS-A holder,
and the recipient of a field experience bursary
from the Royal Tyrrell Museum in 1999.
By the omission of certain
facts, the article seems to imply that the discoveries
at K1 were somehow the work of Daryl Fedje (of
Parks Canada) and the UVic Anthropology department.
This notion, which has been widely propagated,
is incorrect. The original expedition to K1 in
2000 was privately funded by Paul Griffiths,
who, having seen my proposal and discerned my
keen interest, invited me to go along. Barring
the fact that I happened to be attending UVic
at the time, this expedition had no affiliation
with, funding or in-kind support from either
UVic or Parks Canada. (As an aside, your article
erroneously states that K1 is near Gwaii Haanas
Park. It is not. Nor is the second cave referred
to in your article located anywhere near K1.)
Though Rebecca Wigen and others at the Anthropology
department were informed of the expedition well
in advance, they declined to become involved.
Indeed, I encountered great skepticism and a
distinct lack of support in this venture from
individuals in the Anthropology department. Mr.
Fedje did not become involved until 2001 and
was a guest of the expedition in that year.
I returned to UVic with specimens
from K1 in early September of 2000, and took
them almost immediately to the Anthropology department.
Ms. Wigen was most helpful in identifying the
specimens, but did not believe them to be very
old, and I was told unequivocally that no one
in the department was interested in studying
them further. Convinced of their significance,
I carried the specimens around in my backpack
for perhaps three weeks before lodging them in
another department. By the time I returned from
a holiday in India some months later, the bones
were in the hands of Fedje et al., and had been
sent off for dating. I learned of the results
second hand, through Mr. Griffiths.
Since that time, my involvement
has been slowly and systematically marginalized,
misrepresented and almost completely purged from
the public record. This is particularly ironic
in light of the fact that I produced a successful
PGS-A NSERC proposal based on this material before
Fedje et al. ever got involved. These individuals
were well aware that I had intended to make the
K1 material the subject of my master’s
research. As well, there has been a consistent
failure to acknowledge the crucial role that
volunteer speleologists played in the discoveries
and ongoing research at K1.
I have remained silent as article
after article has come out implicitly attributing
the K1 discoveries to the UVic Anthropology department
and Fedje et al. It is time the record was set
Carolyn L. Ramsey, BA ’01
I am writing to express my
concern about your article entitled "Bear
Bones Evidence of Early Life.” Your article
contains a blatant oversight: Ms. Carol Ramsey
was present at the very outset of the work being
done at K1 cave. She was the one who facilitated
the involvement of the other researchers at the
site—she was in fact the originator of
the bone research.
She has had to watch as others
have effectively taken over her original research
project. What must be particularly galling to
Ms. Ramsey is that her research ideas for K1
were initially met with resistance in 2000. Those
earlier academic naysayers have since jumped
on the K1 site, displacing her from her own research
site and a promising academic research program.
Paul Griffiths, BSc ’73
In my enthusiasm for
talking about the bones, I missed mentioning
all the people who have been involved in this
project. I apologize for that lapse.
My memory of the events around
the early work on the bones from K1 is truthfully
rather hazy. Ms. Ramsey, an undergraduate student
at the time, was offered the opportunity to go
on the project with Paul Griffiths. I encouraged
her to go and made some suggestions about collecting
any bones encountered. When she returned with
the bones I did identify them, but certainly
could not tell their age just by looking at them.
Daryl Fedje was sufficiently interested in their
potential to find money to carbon date them (an
expensive procedure). We were all thrilled and
surprised to find out how old some of them actually
I have always offered encouragement
and support to undergraduate students in any
project and have supported Ms. Ramsey in her
pursuit of a graduate degree to the best of my
Department of Anthropology
An Early Flight
UVic Archives photo 168.1101
From time to time I
see reference in the Torch and elsewhere to
the existence of an army camp at the present
location of the university. I never see, however,
any mention of the use of that property before
I have fond memories of my
first flight in an airplane at the Gordon Head
airport when I was about 12 years old. It was
a two-seater, open-cockpit biplane that must
have gone all of 70 miles an hour, but what a
thrill for a young lad! I was so small they could
not adjust the seat belt to fit me, so just let
me float around as they circled the field.
When the Victoria Times originally
announced the flights they stated that the cost
for each child would be one cent per pound. I
distinctly remember asking my father for 79 cents,
only to discover at the field that they had established
a minimum price of one dollar. (A major investment
in those days, when 10 cents would get you into
a movie.) In 1932 airplanes were still relatively
rare, and very few people had ever had the chance
to actually fly in one. There must have been
100 kids lined up for flights that day.
Harold (Ned) Young, VC ’37
Thetford Mines, Quebec
Remembering Elza Mayhew
I was saddened to read of the
death of Elza Mayhew this last January (“Coast
Spirit,” Spring 2004).
On a summer day in 1932 Elza
and I were entertained by the Women’s Canadian
Club for “Tea” at the Empress Hotel.
We had won $100 scholarships for having the highest
marks for a girl and a boy graduating from high
school in Victoria and district that year. Elza
had better marks than I—and another girl
also beat me. Sadly I’ve forgotten her
name and more sadly she didn’t get a scholarship.
Elza wore a yellow dress—she
was very beautiful—that reminded me of
a daffodil. We were a pair of shy 16-year-olds
with little to say to each other.
That $100 paid my tuition,
books and streetcar fare for my first year at
Ray Jones, VC ’33
One of the buildings identified
in the “Rhodies” feature photo in
our last issue was incorrectly identified. It
is All Souls College.