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Kilgii Gwaay: an Early Holocene Archaeological Wet Site in the Modern Intertidal Zone of Haida Gwaii, British Columbia

Author(s): Jenny Cohen ; Quentin Mackie ; Daryl Fedje

Year: 2017

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Summary

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 suggests a summer base camp of people fully fluent in marine and terrestrial resources. Abundant stone tools and organic remains were recovered from excavations. Water saturation and site taphonomy at the site have preserved plant remains and bone, highlighting the importance of these otherwise relatively poorly preserved perishable resources from this early period. Wood artifact technologies and other plant use were established before the large-scale arrival of western redcedar (Thuja plicata), a cultural keystone species for Haida in more recent times. We contextualize the archaeobotanical, faunal and lithic assemblages, and discuss the implications of this wet site, one of the earliest of its kind in the Americas, for the early occupation of the Northwest Coast.


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Kilgii Gwaay: an Early Holocene Archaeological Wet Site in the Modern Intertidal Zone of Haida Gwaii, British Columbia. Jenny Cohen, Quentin Mackie, Daryl Fedje. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431569)


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Spatial Coverage

min long: -169.717; min lat: 42.553 ; max long: -122.607; max lat: 71.301 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16380

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America