We have conducted excavations at three archaeological sites that have records of human occupation spanning more than 10,000 years: EjTa-15, EkTb-9, and ElTa-18.
EjTa-15 is located in Pruth Bay and is a highly stratified site of, mostly, non-shell bearing deposits. The site was first inventoried and sampled for radiocarbon dating in 2012. Preliminary investigations found two canoe runs and a scatted of lithics in the intertidal zone. Shovel testing in the backshore region of the site revealed a long record of occupation. In 2013 and 2014 we conducted controlled excavations in the high intertidal and adjacent backshore region. Our results reveal an extensive early Holocene occupation of this site dating between 10,151 and 9,025 years ago. Archaeological materials include pebble tools, flake tools, and other lithic objects. Features encountered include hearths, a post-hole, and a stone-lined living surface. Later period occupations were also found at the site which date to the following time periods: 8683-8599, 3310-3080, 1811-1717, 1226-1088, 419-291 and 251-35 calendar years before present.
EkTb9 is located on a small outer coast island on the western entrance to Kildidt Sound (Figure 5). This site features a deep and thick shell midden – up to five metres thick. Preliminary site testing using cores and augers revealed that the shell midden deposits at the site started forming sometime around 6000 BP. This midden encases an archive of archaeological materials and fauna from the outer coast region. A single excavation unit was placed behind the shell midden ridge where we encountered earlier archaeological strata dating between 11,396 and 5610 calendar years ago. In these deposits we encountered a stratum of peat which included preserved wooden artifacts (7690-5600 year old). The earliest deposits include charcoal, faunal material (mostly sea mammal and rockfish), and a few small lithics. It is our plan to expand excavations at this site in 2015.
ElTa-18 is located in the narrows between Kididt Sound and Kildidt Lagoon on Hunter Island. Preliminary core testing at the site was conducted by Aubrey Cannon from McMaster University. Excavations conducted at this site in 2012, 2013, and 2014 found stratified deposits spanning the last 13,000 years. The sediments at ElTa18 are largely shell free with the exception of some pocket middens dating to the late Holocene. Earlier deposits include charcoal rich sediments with some lithics. The initial occupation of the site occurred sometime between 13,600 and 10,700 calendar years before present. Later occupations also occurs intermittently with different components dating to 10,640-10,517, 7610-6023, 4410-4250, 3389-3364, 2775-2754, and 655-535 calendar years before present. This site was likely not a major habitation site, rather it was more likely a seasonal resource use camp.