Someone Before Us

Buried History in Central New Brunswick

George Frederick Clarke

Fourth Edition

Edited by Mary Bernard

“…David Ogilvy…held the small triangular shaped object in the open palm of his hand, …he turned to his companion …and said in awed tones: Someone has been here before us.” — from the Preface

Someone Before Us tells the fascinating story of a trailblazing archaeologist in central New Brunswick. This new edition of Clarke’s unique book includes an Afterword by David W. Black, Professor of Anthropology at the University of New Brunswick (UNB), and an expanded number of artefact illustrations. Both the Afterword and a new Introduction by editor, Mary Bernard, provide valuable information for understanding the context and significance of Clarke’s archaeological work. Clarke’s extensive collection of stone tools is now held at UNB.

Dr. George Frederick Clarke discovered and explored many settlements and campsites of the ancestors of the Wolastoqey (Maliseets). Someone Before Us tells the story of both his archaeological work and his association with friends from the Wolastoqey, who often helped him in his explorations. The book includes a chapter on Tappan Adney, an artist and ethnographer who documented Wolastoqey language and material culture. The cover painting is by Adney. The book concludes with an account of observations made by early 17th century French explorers who lived among the Indigenous People of this region. Someone Before Us was the last of Clarke’s thirteen published books and is a fitting capstone volume for one of New Brunswick’s best-loved authors.

From the Afterword by David W. Black

GFC collected and excavated at some of the most widely recognized Prehistoric archaeological sites in New Brunswick—for example, Meductic Flat, the Shiktahawk site and the Three Brooks site—and many of the sites he investigated were subsequently inundated by waters ponded above hydro-electric dams constructed on the St John and Tobique rivers. For these reasons alone, GFC’s work occupies an important place in the history of archaeological research in Eastern Canada; his publications, notes and artifact collection warrant consideration in the context of modern archaeological research and in light of on-going and proposed developments in the central St John River Valley.

About the Author

George Frederick Clarke (1883-1974) is one of New Brunswick’s best writers. He is the author of thirteen books, including Six Salmon Rivers and Song of the Reel. His short stories have recently been collected in The Ghost of Nackawick Portage.

About the Editor

Mary Bernard is editor of the George Frederick Project, which is bringing his books back into print. She is Clarke’s granddaughter and lives in Cambridge, England.

Knives and spearheads. Photographed by Rob Blanchard

Roy Polchies, Peter Paul and George Frederick Clarke looking at artefacts, 1949. From the editor’s collection.

Paperback • 238 pages • $40(CAD), $32(USD) • ISBN 978-1-988299-05-1 • Published 2016/11/09