Archaeology of Stranded, Intertidal, and Submerged Shorelines on the Northwest Coast of North America

Part of: Society for American Archaeology 82nd Annual Meeting, Vancouver, BC (2017)

Coastal Archaeology in Northwestern North America is offering an expanding range of insights into the late Pleistocene peopling of postglacial environments and the purposeful transformation of the intertidal zone during the late Holocene to enhance and manage shellfish and fish populations. Attentiveness to relative sea level change and employing interdisciplinary tools and methods is a key driver enabling both of these research trajectories. This poster session invites emerging research contributions on this theme from along the Northwest Coast, including the Central Coast and the Discovery Islands in British Columbia where the Hakai Institute has launched a long-term archaeological research program. This poster session aims to provide an enjoyable forum for this convergent research on the coastal margin.

Resources Inside This Collection (Viewing 1-16 of 16)

  • Documents (16)

  • Ancient Clam Gardens: Exploring Cultural and Ecological Mechanisms that Enhanced Clam Production (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Natasha Salter. Amy Groesbeck. Kirsten Rowell. Anne Salomon.

    Emerging evidence suggests that Northwest Coast First Nations sustained and enhanced shellfish production through features known as clam gardens, intertidal rock-walled terraces, built in the late Holocene. Experiments and surveys have revealed that clam gardens are 2-4 times more productive than non-modified clam beaches, supporting greater densities, biomass, and higher growth rates of important clam species. While heightened productivity within clam gardens is partly attributable to the...

  • Archaeological and architectural considerations of intertidal shellfish use and deposition on Hecate Island, Central Coast of British Columbia (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Seonaid Duffield. Duncan McLaren. Iain McKechnie.

    Detailed tracking of the chronology and spatial extent of shell middens on the Northwest Coast is a challenging and often expensive proposition given the size and time depth often represented at these sites. The Hakai Ancient Landscapes Archaeology Project (HALAP) used vibracore technology to efficiently sample intact 7cm diameter stratigraphic profiles from multiple 4-6 m deep shell midden deposits at site EjTa-13 on Hecate Island. A series of radiocarbon dates from the initial core documents a...

  • Archaeological Fish Traps on the Coast of British Columbia (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Deidre Cullon. Rhy McMillan. Heather Pratt.

    Fish traps are a ubiquitous fishing feature on the Northwest Coast, with thousands of features recorded at hundreds of sites. This fishing technology represents a use and modification of intertidal and riverine environments at an industrial scale, yet protocol and management practices ensured that fish populations flourished. As in other areas of the Northwest Coast, First Nations and archaeologists in British Columbia have documented fish traps, resulting in the registration of 822 fish "trap"...

  • Archaeological Investigations of the Intertidal Ecotone on the Central Pacific Coast of Canada (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Duncan McLaren. Daryl Fedje. Gitla Elroy White. Seonaid Duffield. Alisha Gauvreau.

    On the outer central Pacific coast of Canada, the intertidal zone is a highly productive ecotone that lies between temperate rainforest and marine biomes. The tide comes in and out over five vertical metres twice everyday. While the tide is out, our research teams have been investigating archaeological aspects of intertidal strata, artifacts and features. Stratigraphically the intertidal zone provides a window into the late Pleistocene archaeology of the region. Our subsurface testing into beach...

  • Coastal Predictive Modelling for Early Period Archaeological Sites in a Landscape subject to Rapidly Changing Sea Levels, Quadra Island, British Columbia (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Colton Vogelaar. Quentin Mackie.

    In the Northwest Coast, paleoenvironmental context is essential in the search for late Pleistocene–early Holocene coastal archaeological sites. The dynamic and complex relative sea level history is a key determinant in site discovery. In this presentation I describe how we are using predictive modelling to help overcome the challenges of this dynamic history. This research introduces novel coast-focussed variables and methodology to find early period coastal archaeological sites on Quadra...

  • Coastal Settlement Patterns in BC at the Pleistocene-Holocene Transition (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Alexander Mackie. Nicole Smith. Colton Vogelaar. Quentin Mackie. Joanne McSporran.

    In this presentation we explore how early Holocene shoreline settlement patterns in Haida Gwaii can be used to inform the search for late Pleistocene sites on Quadra Island in the northern Salish Sea. The 11K to 14.5K cal BP shorelines on Quadra Island are located at elevations up to 180 m above modern. Low visibility necessitates focused investigations on these raised landforms in order to find early sites. We are applying our knowledge of the distribution of archaeological sites in Gwaii...

  • Following the Shore: Refining Late Holocene Sea-Level change through Settlement Histories on Northern Quadra Island, B.C. (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Travis Crowell. Dana Lepofsky. Daryl Fedje.

    For people who rely on the ocean, changes in sea-level can have a profound effect on daily lives, connections to place, and identity. When we study sea-level from a broader or regional scale, we do not require the time and space specificity that is necessary to examine the effect of highly local sea-level change in a particular time and place. Thus, the regional sea-level curves that have been well-refined and developed, may not answer (or allow us) to understand and appreciate what this change...

  • Kilgii Gwaay: an Early Holocene Archaeological Wet Site in the Modern Intertidal Zone of Haida Gwaii, British Columbia (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Jenny Cohen. Quentin Mackie. Daryl Fedje.

    The Kilgii Gwaay site in southernmost Haida Gwaii, British Columbia, is an early maritime-focused archaeological site dating to a brief interval about 10,700 cal. B.P. The site was occupied at a time when relative sea levels were a few meters below modern and rising rapidly, ultimately drowning the site by up to 18 m of ocean waters for almost ten millennia. Tectonic uplift over the past 5000 years has gradually raised the site, which is now exposed in the intertidal zone. The overall assemblage...

  • A Large Shell Midden Complex on the Outer Central Coast of British Columbia (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Farid Rahemtulla.

    Site EjTa-4 located on Calvert Island is a large midden complex capped with dozens of culturally modified cedar trees, and it has revealed older cultural material in the intertidal zones. Over the last five years the Hakai Institute has supported excavations of the large, undisturbed shell midden through the University of Northern British Columbia’s archaeology field school. The midden rises to 10 meters above the shoreline and radiocarbon dates indicate relatively continuous use of the site for...

  • Long-term culture landscape development at (EkTb-9) Triquet Island, British Columbia, Canada (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Alisha Gauvreau. Duncan McLaren.

    EkTb-9, a Heiltsuk First Nation village site located on Triquet Island, British Columbia, Canada, has an occupation span of over 11,500 calendar years. Archaeological and palaeo-environmental research indicates that local sea level was relatively stable during that time. EkTb-9 is rich in archaeology strata including a five meter deep shell midden and nearby water-logged deposits which contains perishable materials, most notably parts of bent wood and compound fish-hooks and wooden bi-point...

  • A Multi-Method Approach to Prospecting Stranded Paleo-Coastal Sites on Quadra Island, BC (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Alexandra Lausanne. Daryl Fedje. Quentin Mackie. Ian Walker.

    Despite increasing support for the first peopling of North America via a coastal route, only a limited number of postglacial (Late Pleistocene–Early Holocene) archaeological sites have been identified on the Northwest Coast. This research aims to identify high potential locations for evidence of the Early Period archaeological record (pre-10,000 cal BP) on Quadra Island, BC. Quadra Island has experienced dramatic sea level regression over the past 14,000 years following the Last Glacial Maximum....

  • New approaches to the underwater archaeology of Hecate Strait, Haida Gwaii, British Columbia (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Quentin Mackie. Colton Vogelaar. Daryl Fedje.

    Archaeological investigation of the possible coastal route into the Americas has always been hindered by sea level changes, including the drowning of much of the Pleistocene coastal plain. While it is now understood that significant portions of the coastal plain were never drowned, it is also clear that some of the underwater terrestrial landscape is intact and has archaeological potential. New approaches to the survey and modelling of paleocoastlines may increase optimism of finding underwater...

  • A post-glacial relative sea level curve and paleoshoreline archaeological survey for the Prince Rupert Harbour, BC, Canada (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Jonathan Duelks. Jacob Jones. Steve Mozarowski. John Maxwell. Bryn Letham.

    We present a relative sea level (RSL) curve for the Prince Rupert Harbour area for the last 15,000 years that is based on nearly 150 radiocarbon-dated data points. RSL dropped from at least 50 m asl to several m below current sea level immediately after deglaciation, before rising again to 4-6 m asl during the early Holocene. By 6000 years ago RSL had approached its current position, though there have been some late Holocene fluctuations. We used this RSL history in conjunction with...

  • Raised Marine Predictive Model Advances Knowledge of Early Holocene Site Assemblages in Southern Southeast Alaska (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Risa Carlson.

    In 2009, Carlson & Baichtal used the age and elevation of raised marine deposits left during the highest marine transgression to create a hypothetical early Holocene shoreline in the Alexander Archipelago of southern Southeast Alaska. Over the past seven years, archaeological surveys that employed this predictive model revealed over twenty new early Holocene sites. Our understanding of the Holocene island landscape has increased dramatically with the discovery of these sites in new geographical...

  • Shellfish Harvesting Strategies on the Northern Northwest Coast: Evidence from Labouchere Bay, Southeast Alaska (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Mark Williams.

    This poster presents new data from five shell midden sites on Prince of Wales Island, Alaska in order to examine how shellfish-harvesting strategies changed during the middle to late Holocene. The accessibility and resilience of shellfish beds on the coastal margin makes them valuable resources that complement more seasonally-restricted food sources such as salmon runs. In order to meet the increasing needs of permanent settlements that emerged during the middle Holocene, shellfish management...

  • Speed Mapping: Using drones to construct imagery and elevation models of cultural intertidal landscapes (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Keith Holmes. Will McInnes. Iain McKechnie. Dana Lepofsky. Darcy Mathews.

    Unmanned aerial systems (UAS) have been used extensively in remote sensing in recent years because of their low cost and ease of implementation. Mapping cultural sites in intertidal areas is challenging because of the short time window in which features are exposed. UAS provide an efficient and high spatial resolution method of capturing imagery and elevation data for a variety of cultural landscapes. We have used UAS at sites along the coastal margin of British Columbia to map clam gardens,...