Ancient Canadian village discovered that's older than the pyramids

Expedition unearths evidence of 14,000-year-old settlement 

Jon Sharman
Wednesday 06 September 2017 11:19 BST
(Grant Callegari/Hakai Institute)

An ancient village that is older than the Egyptian pyramids has been discovered in a remote part of Canada

After excavating a settlement on Triquet Island on British Columbia's Central Coast archaeologists dated it to 14,000 years ago, during the last ice age when glaciers covered much of North America.

It was discovered by team searching for evidence that supported the oral histories of the indigenous Heiltsuk people, which told of a sliver of land during the last ice age that never froze.

Legend has it that the Heiltsuk took refuge there during the big freeze.

Alisha Gauvreau, a PhD student at the University of Victoria, worked with members of the Heiltsuk Nation to excavate the site.

Under several metres of earth they discovered a layer of ancient soil that appeared to contain a prehistoric hearth.

Using tweezers they were able to remove flakes of charcoal from it, which were then sent for carbon dating. This established that some of them were 14,000 years old.

"We just sat back and said, 'Holy moly, this is old," Ms Gauvreau told Canadian broadcaster, CTV.

Describing the find as "very important", William Housty, a member of the Heiltsuk Nation said it reaffirmed "a lot of the history that our people have been talking about for thousands of years."

He added that the hard evidence will bolster the group's position in negotiations over land rights.

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