The researchers also found that roughly 175 years ago, the population of Coast Tsimshian in the region declined by as much as 57 per cent. This coincides with colonization and the spread of diseases such as smallpox, the accounts of which have also been passed down in First Nations oral tradition.
“Science is starting to be used to basically corroborate what we’ve been saying all along,” said Barbara Petzelt, an archaeologist with the Metlakatla First Nation, one of the researchers in the study.
“The ongoing dispute over the authenticity of a scrap of papyrus from the ancient world highlights a larger question of how history is established.”
“Both sides are looking at the same credit-card-sized scrap of papyrus, with the same words in the same hand in the same ink. Both sides are represented by members of the same academic community—those who continue to push for the authenticity of the GJW are highly respected scholars, as are those who are calling it a forgery. Yet the two sides are approaching the papyrus from completely distinct angles, and getting completely different results.”
Earlier article on the same subject