An ancient village, estimated to be about 14,000 years old, has been discovered in Canada. It was found on the remote island of Triquet, which is located about 300 miles northwest of Victoria. If the unearthed settlement is as old as believed, that would make it the one of oldest known human settlements yet discovered in the Americas. It would be three times older than the Great Pyramids of Giza in Egypt and eve older than ancient Rome.
The University of Victoria’s Hakai Institute has been supporting the excavation work, and they have found a treasure trove of artifacts at the village site. Archaeologists have unearthed Ice Age hunting tools, including spears and fish hooks, as well as an ancient hand drill used for lighting fires and a set of stone tools. They were able to date the site by testing charcoal that was found in a hearth buried eight feet underground.
This discovery provides support for the oral history of the Heiltsuk Nation, one of Canada’s First Nations. According to these traditions, their ancestors set up coastal villages 13,000 or more years ago. Throughout the generations, the Heiltsuk people have passed down stories about their people moving across a land bridge that once connected what is now Siberia and Alaska. Scientists have long doubted that these tales could be true, believing that this route would not have provided enough in the way of natural resources for these first settlers to cross over. They have also long thought that these coastal areas could not have supported human habitation. Instead, they have theorized that the first migrants to North America reached the continent via the boats that landed much further down the coast, where there were more natural resources. The discovery of this settlement could eventually help the Heiltsuk in their negotiations with Canada’s government over title rights to their ancestral lands.
Finds at the site confirm other oral histories of the Heiltsuk people. For example, their stories talk about a time when their people switched from eating large sea mammals, like seals, to a diet consisting of finfish. The discovery of fish hooks at the site confirms these histories. This shows how traditional stories, passed down from one generation to the next, may be valuable for more than their cultural value; they may be more useful than once thought for scientific research.