Coordinates: 49°09′05″N 122°15′06″W / 49.15139°N 122.25167°W / 49.15139; -122.25167
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Sign for the X̱á:ytem Longhouse Interpretive Centre
LocationHatzic, Mission, British Columbia, Canada
Coordinates49°09′05″N 122°15′06″W / 49.15139°N 122.25167°W / 49.15139; -122.25167
Current useActive archaeological site and museum
Designated4 June 1992

X̱á:ytem[1] (/ˈhtəm, ˈhɑːɪtəm/) is an indigenous archaeological site and the name of a related museum run under the auspices of the Stoːlo people at Hatzic, British Columbia, Canada. X̱á:ytem is approximately 80 kilometres east of Vancouver on Highway 7. It is reached via the bridge at Mission, about 15 kilometres from the border with the US state of Washington. The site was designated in 1992 as a national historic site of Canada for its spiritual value to the Stoːlo people, as well as being one of the oldest discovered habitation sites at approximately 5000 years old.[2][3] It was listed on the Canadian register of historic places in 2005.[3] It is also known as Hatzic Rock National Historic Site of Canada.[3]


Indigenous peoples occupied this area along the northern bank of the Fraser River for thousands of years. The historical peoples who encountered European colonists were the Stoːlo.

A large moss-covered boulder, known as a transformer rock and of deep spiritual importance, has survived from ancient times. According to the book You Are Asked to Witness,[citation needed] the transformer god XaːIs was travelling through the land and punished three siːyaːm[clarification needed] for not adopting new ways to preserve and protect Stóːlō traditions and knowledge. To teach them a lesson, the god transformed them into stone.[4]

Over time, during the years after alienation of native lands by colonization, the site of X̱á:ytem had been used as a pasture. The property is adjacent to a highway built in the early 20th century. After it was sold to a developer and initial work on grading the site was begun, concerns about the site's potential archaeological value prompted an examination by Gordon Mohs. This led to the dramatic finding that it was immensely ancient, and it has been ranked among the oldest-known habitation sites in North America.

Following the discovery, the government arranged to transfer the land to the Stóːlō, the First Nation that has historically been in the area, for archaeological and museum purposes. It paid the erstwhile owner compensation for his lost opportunity in development; an extensive residential subdivision had been planned. The Stóːlō have built a museum, the X̱á:ytem Longhouse Interpretive Centre, to educate visitors about the site.

Excavations have been carried out in consultation with the Stóːlō. Researchers have found at the habitation site "evidence of rectangular pit/ longhouses of long-term occupation with remains of post, hearth and floor features, trade goods, storage, food, and spiritual activity."[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sometimes rendered with formatting, "Xá:ytem", or with a combining low line, "X̲á:ytem", instead of with a macron below the X.
  2. ^ "Hanging around the Mission City – destinations you should not miss". Heritage of Mission. Retrieved August 22, 2022.
  3. ^ a b c "Xá:ytem / Hatzic Rock National Historic Site of Canada". Gatineau, Quebec, Canada: Parks Canada Agency. Retrieved August 22, 2022.
  4. ^ Sandra Shields, "Tʼxwelatse Comes Home", Seattle Times, 28 January 2007, accessed 16 September 2013
  5. ^ X̲áːytem / Hatzic Rock National Historic Site of Canada Archived September 2, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, accessed 16 September 2013

External links[edit]