January Lecture Series (Online)

Ancient Environments and Archaeology of the Proposed West Coast Route of First Peopling of the Americas.
Dr. Quentin, Associate Professor in Anthropology at the University of Victoria

Recent paleoenvironmental and archaeological work along the NW Coast of North America strongly suggests human occupation by 14,000 years ago, and probably earlier. The deglacial process on the coast was patchy and involved both glacial advance and retreat, however, there was likely many large areas of coast available for human occupation at 17,000 years ago, and even before that date. Similarly, in some places, post-glacial sea level change was one of rapid rise, in others rapid fall, while in a few places, the relative sea level has been very consistent across the last 14,000 or more years. Archaeologists have used these emerging environmental insights to find sites of human occupation of the early coast, including outer coast locales with human footprints dating to 13,000 years ago, a basal feature at a very deep coastal site tentatively dating to ca. 14,000, and a variety of other sites in the 12,500 to 13,500 year old range. These studies have started to put some more precise parameters on the history of environmental change and human occupation of the terminal Pleistocene coast, and inform its relationship to the question of First Peopling of the Americas.
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