Early Environments and Archaeology of Coastal British Columbia

  • Quentin MackieEmail author
  • Daryl Fedje
  • Duncan McLaren
  • Nicole Smith
  • Iain McKechnie
Part of the Interdisciplinary Contributions to Archaeology book series (IDCA)


Coastal British Columbia is largely a rugged fjord-land archipelago. It has not always been so – over time, the coastline has changed configuration dramatically and the fauna and flora have seen multiple successions and extirpations. Through this, for the last 11,000 RCYBP years at least, resilient people made their living from the ocean and the land, shrugging off or taking advantage of environmental change. Similarly, archaeologists have worked the nooks and crannies of the coast for decades, surveying in the dense forest and digging in the deep middens, subject to similar environmental conditions as those they study and making quiet progress in regional culture histories. In more recent years, this area has been thrust to the forefront of research into the First Peopling of the American continents. As the Clovis First model began to be questioned, alternate modes and routes for the arrival of humans were brought in from the sidelines, including the hypothesized west coast route (e.g. Fladmark 1979). Not much research had been focused on this route, perhaps as Easton (1992) suggests, because of the terrestrial mindset of many archaeologists. Perhaps also, the prospects of finding sites on the deeply drowned landscapes or in the rugged, heavily forested hinterland was prohibitively daunting and led to a pessimistic outlook on success.


Late Pleistocene Archaeological Site Brown Bear Stone Tool Black Bear 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Haida Gwaii work was supported by Gwaii Haanas National Park/Haida Heritage Site, Parks Canada Archaeological Services, the Council of the Haida Nation, the Anthropology Department at the University of Victoria, and Canada Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council grants 410-2001-0898 and 410-2005-0778. Work in the Stave Lake area was supported by BC Hydro and the Kwantlen First Nation. We thank Audrey Dallimore and the Geological Survey of Canada for access to the Barkley Sound sea level modeling data. We also acknowledge the work of the many archaeologists and paleoecologists who worked with us as well as those researchers who came before and whose work enabled us to move forward in our understanding of the early history of the BC coast and environs. We would also like to thank John Southon and colleagues at the University of California (Irvine and Livermore) who conducted much of the radiocarbon dating used in building this history (including many gratis dates obtained as part of our joint research into the marine reservoir history for the region). We also thank the editors for involving us in this volume.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Quentin Mackie
    • 1
    Email author
  • Daryl Fedje
  • Duncan McLaren
  • Nicole Smith
  • Iain McKechnie
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of VictoriaVictoriaCanada

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