Ancient artifacts spanning 7,000 years have been uncovered by archaeologists in Canada after surveying melting ice patches. The findings, which include perishable items, were discovered in Mount Edziza Provincial Park during the summer of 2019. The park holds great significance to the Tahltan, one of Canada’s indigenous First Nations, who have used the area for seasonal hunts for centuries.
Previous research had focused on the park’s obsidian quarries and artifacts, but the nearby ice patches had not been extensively studied until now. Researchers were particularly intrigued by the possibility of finding perishable artifacts that may have been preserved in the ice.
During their survey, the team visited nine ice patches and found a total of 56 perishable artifacts. These included wooden items such as birch bark containers, projectile shafts, and walking staffs. They also discovered artifacts made from animal remains, such as a stitched hide boot and carved antler and bone tools.
Among the notable finds were two bark containers with stitching, one of which had sticks stitched into its sides, suggesting it was used for transporting heavy loads. These containers were estimated to be around 2,000 and 1,400 years old, respectively. The researchers also uncovered a moccasin-like boot made of stitched animal hide, dating back 6,200 years, as well as a 5,300-year-old antler shaped like an ice pick.
The artifacts were found alongside millions of obsidian items and have since been taken to a museum in British Columbia for conservation and further study.
Mount Edziza Provincial Park is located in British Columbia, near the Canada-U.S. border with Alaska. The research team involved in the survey included Duncan McLaren, Brendan Gray, Rosemary Loring, Ts̱ēmā Igharas Igharas, Rolf Mathewes, Lesli Louie, Megan Doxsey-Whitfield, Genevieve Hill, and Kendrick Marr.