Beringia Underwater: The Search for New Archaeological Sites on the Pacific Northwest Coast

Author(s): Rob Rondeau; Chris Carleton

Year: 2021


This is an abstract from the "Advances in Global Submerged Paleolandscapes Research" session, at the 86th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

When and how people first arrived in the Americas remains one of archaeology’s greatest mysteries. The earliest archaeological evidence suggests that people migrated from Siberia across the Bering Strait, Beringia, and into Alaska around 14,000 years ago. Where they went from there is still unclear! One hypothesis is that these First Peoples moved down the Pacific Northwest coast on the then mostly exposed continental shelf. Archaeological sites in Alaska and the Yukon suggest that they were big game hunters and that they survived by hunting animals like mammoth, mastodon, and caribou. Around 10,000 years ago, when the last Ice Age ended, sea level rose—flooding what had been a coastal plain to the west of the present coast of Alaska and British Columbia. As a result, potential early archaeological sites are now underwater. The research aims to (1) locate early sites on the underwater landscape and (2) to investigate them firsthand. This presentation outlines how the use of a new computer predictive model developed at Simon Fraser University, combined with the latest underwater surveying techniques and applied technical engineering, will allow us to investigate marine archaeological sites on the Pacific Northwest coast in ways not previously possible.

Cite this Record

Beringia Underwater: The Search for New Archaeological Sites on the Pacific Northwest Coast. Rob Rondeau, Chris Carleton. Presented at The 86th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology. 2021 ( tDAR id: 466937)

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 32503