Ancient Clam Gardens of the Southern Gulf Islands
Author(s): Eric McLay
Clam Gardens of the Southern Gulf Islands and southeastern Vancouver Island, British Columbia
This paper describes a comprehensive, five-year archaeological project to identify and document the location of ancient intertidal clam garden features in the Southern Gulf Islands and southeastern Vancouver Island, British Columbia. It is discovered that clam gardens in the Southern Gulf Islands region are extensive, exhibit clear patterning in location and morphology, and demonstrate a monumentality in size, several reaching over a kilometer in length. These rock-walled landscapes , however, are found visible only at the lowest zero tides of the year, which likely attests to their antiquity relative to regional sea level rise. Their location and size suggest large-scale community works. While current resource management literature emphasizes food scarcity, the sheer size and scale of clam gardens in this key archaeological region points towards economic interests in food production for surplus, regional trade and exchange. The discovery of these intertidal landscapes helps transforms our normative understanding of "seasonal" settlement activity in the Southern Gulf Islands to reframe the islands as a centre for past shellfish and marine-oriented economic production on the Northwest Coast.
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Cite this Record
Ancient Clam Gardens of the Southern Gulf Islands. Eric McLay. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397995)
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min long: -169.717; min lat: 42.553 ; max long: -122.607; max lat: 71.301 ;