10/06/2012 07:43 EDT | Updated 10/07/2013 03:50 EDT

Thousands Of First Nations Artifacts Found Near Vernon

Archaeologists near Vernon, B.C., have uncovered thousands of First Nations artifacts — some of which could be more than 6,000 years old — on a stretch of highway in Lake Country.

Archaeologists have been working the site since January, pulling thousands of artifacts from the ground.

"One of the cool things we found … was what we think are the remains of a fishing net," archaeologist Clinton Coates told CBC News.

"We found these 30 flat, notched rocks spread out over about three metres. The net was left there with the rocks and over time the net would rot away."

Thousands of arrowheads, spear points and hammer stones are among the finds.

"The styles that we found are consistent with ones that are as recent as 200 years ago and there's one that may go back 5,000 or 6,000 years," Coates said. "We don’t know for sure until we've done some carbon dating."

For area First Nations, the find is exciting — but also confirms what they already knew.

Okanagan Indian Band Chief Byron Louis says he hopes the discovery will re-write area history to include a time before settlers arrived.

"There's always been this perception that history starts with [Father] Pandosy and comes forward and yet ignores the thousands of years prior to that there was habitation in this area," Louis said.

Many of the artifacts were found up to 2.5 meters underground, which helped preserve the pieces.

"Being able to do a project at this level of detail gives us a lot of data we can start to cross-reference and correlate with other information and maybe start to answer more in-depth questions about what people were doing here 4,000 or 5,000 years ago," Coates said.

The recovery at the site is almost complete but the painstaking task of cataloguing all the artifacts has yet to begin.