For generations, people of the Heiltsuk Nation, an aboriginal group native to British Columbia, Canada, have passed down oral histories related to their origin. In their stories, they talk about a tiny strip of coastal land that never froze when the last ice age took place. They also claim that their people took shelter on this land for survival. These stories finally found credence when a team of archeologists and Ph.D. students discovered an ancient village that is thought to be over 14,000 years old. If their estimate is correct, the village must have existed during the last ice age, and it is significantly older than the Egyptian pyramids.
While conducting a dig on Triquet Island, the team discovered several ancient artifacts, one of which was a hearth. Radiocarbon dating of the charcoal flakes placed the item some 14,000 years in the past.
The archeologists, with the support of the Hakai Institute, were conducting a dig on Triquet Island, which is situated around 300 miles north of British Columbia’s capital, Victoria. Their goal was to find ancient settlements in the area as described in the oral histories of the Heiltsuk Nation. The experts sifted through several layers of peat and soil before finding a number of ancient artifacts such as spears, fish hooks, stone tools, a wooden device that was used for launching projectiles, and a hand drill that was used for igniting fires.
However, the most exciting find was buried 2.5 meters below the ground. It was the charred remains of a hearth. The researchers used tweezers to meticulously peel away a few tiny charcoal flakes that they sent for testing. Radiocarbon dating revealed that the age of the hearth was somewhere around 13,613 to 14,086 years. That means this ancient village existed thousands of years before the Great Pyramid of Giza was built. To put that into perspective, the pyramids were built around 4,700 years ago, which means this ancient village is around 10,000 years older than them.
To comprehend just how old that truly is, you need to understand that Cleopatra, the ancient ruler of Egypt, lived closer to the present than when the pyramids were built. The fact that this ancient village predates the pyramids by as much as 10,000 years is truly mind-boggling.
The discovery puts a giant question mark on our understanding of the migration patterns of ancient humans.
Traditionally, it is believed that ancient humans arrived at the Americas some 13,000 years ago. Some experts posited that stone-age people crossed a land bridge to get to Alaska from modern-day Siberia. However, recent studies have suggested that the route would have been too treacherous and devoid of resources to facilitate a successful migration. Today, researchers believe that early humans reached North America via the east coast. According to Alisha Gauvreau, a researcher and Ph.D. student who worked on the Triquet Island dig, the discovery of the ancient settlement further proves that theory.
It also lends credence to the oral histories of the Heiltsuk Nation. The existence of this ancient village reaffirms their faith that their ancestors occupied this region during the last ice age. It might also help them to better negotiate with the Canadian government regarding title rights to some of their traditional territories.