Archaeologists found fossils of a campsite nearly 13,000 years old on a remote island in British Columbia.
The remote Calvert Island off the coast of the British Columbia held fossils of what may be the oldest camping trip ever taken in North America. On an expedition to the island, which can only be reached by boat or plane, archaeologists stumbled upon a series of fossilized footprints buried deep in the sandy shores.
So far, a series of 12 footprints, which have been dated back to over 13,000 years ago, and what seems to be remnants of a fire pit have been uncovered. They were buried almost one meter below the surface of the island.
Scientists believe the footprints were left by a large man, a women, and a child. After stepping in the grey clay their footprints were filled in with black sand to be famously preserved. They demonstrate how long people have inhabited B.C.’s coastlines.
“We’re very excited about it,” said Duncan Mclaren one of the archaeologists. He went on to say that human footprints like these are extremely rare, especially ones older than 10,000 years. The oldest footprints in the America’s are 14,500 years old and were found at an archaeological site in Chile’s Monte Verde.
The team had originally discovered the footprints last April, but only returned last month to confirm what they thought they had found.
“It was a lot of physical labor. We had to do preliminary testing, which we did last year, then move to a painstaking excavation with hand tools. The footprints that we found were close to a meter below the surface, so removing the material above that takes some time.” Mclaren told Global News.
Similar footprints were found on another nearby island called Haida Gwaii that were 12,400 years old. Due to its location, most of the potential archaeology sites were put under water. Calvert Island, on the other hand, has been left untouched for thousands of years, leaving many possible discoveries to be had.
Archaeologists haven’t dug up all of the footprints yet, but plan to expand the excavation area.
“We haven’t excavated all of these footprint as of yet,” he McLaren. “We’ve only opened up a fairly small area, two-by-two metres. We’re fairly certain that there will be additional footprints as well as the potential for…other features in the same area that we have been working.”