A Large Shell Midden Complex on the Outer Central Coast of British Columbia

Author(s): Farid Rahemtulla

Year: 2017


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 7,500 years and possibly much longer. Like the site of Namu, which is not far away, this is one of many persistent places on the seascape that is still intact and visible due to the relatively stable sea level history in this region. These sites are repositories for ecological and cultural data that reflect fluctuations in resource availability and use over several millennia. But they are also important Places on the social landscape, purpose-built landforms that are significant historic and cultural markers. This large midden in particular has a high density of faunal material as fill, and the volume of shellfish suggests that clam gardens were in use in this area perhaps by the middle Holocene.

Cite this Record

A Large Shell Midden Complex on the Outer Central Coast of British Columbia. Farid Rahemtulla. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431573)


Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16214