Long-term Ecological Research naturally includes a consideration of the past, which provides us with the context for present changes. At least since the retreat of the glaciers, humans have occupied and shaped our landscape. Ample evidence exists that the Hakai area has for many millennia been the center of a large human settlement.
We expect research to span two time scales:
- Early habitation of the region, with a focus on the time period from 15,000 to 5,000 years before present.
- More recent habitation of the region. This work is complemented and enriched by another project sponsored under the Hakai Program which is taking place at Hauyat on Hunter Island (adjacent to Calvert Island) under the leadership of Dana Lepofsky, Nancy Turner and Jennifer Carpenter.
The study area for the project includes the islands to the west of Fitz Hugh Sound including Calvert and Hunter, and the mainland coast on the east side of the sound. Many of the archaeological sites in this area have long-term records of occupation spanning over 5,000 years and in some instances over 10,000 years. The material encased in these sites provides perspectives on the cultural, ecological, and geomorphic history of the region. Archaeological survey and core testing has been used to sample culturally derived sediments for the purpose of chronology building. Ages of site occupation are provided through stratigraphic analysis and associated radiocarbon dates. This has provided a means for us to select sites for further sampling through excavation where there are preliminary indicators of early or long-term records.
We have been conducting survey for archaeological sites in many parts of the study area. Methods for site discovery include examining landforms and natural exposures, and subsurface testing using probes and augers. Between 2011 and 2012 a total of 27 new sites were recorded. In 2013, 20 new sites were recorded. In 2014, we slowed the pace of inventory work to focus on excavation at existing sites.