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A Journey to a New Land

First people
Post secondary Level Resources

Archaeology in the Ice-Free Corridor

Archaeologists have spent decades looking for evidence that the ice-free corridor was the route used by those who brought Clovis technology to the Americas. If the ice-free corridor was the point of first entry, then at least some of the archaeological sites in the corridor region should predate the Clovis sites south of the ice sheets, and should contain artifacts and tools that are ancestral to the Clovis toolkit. No such evidence has yet been found.

The Charlie Lake Cave site in northeastern British Columbia is one of the earliest sites in the corridor region. People were present at Charlie Lake Cave by 11,000 to 10,500 years BP, and were manufacturing fluted points similar to Clovis points. Similarly, the Vermilion Lakes and Wally's Beach sites in the southern corridor were occupied by about 11,000 years BP, and Clovis points were found at Wally's Beach. However, as Clovis technology was already well-established thousands of kilometers to the south by 11,500 years BP, these sites can not account for the first arrival of people on the continent.

It is important to remember, however, that the archaeological record is incomplete, and often reveals only a glimpse of the past. Archaeological evidence in the corridor region may be hidden in areas that are inaccessible today. It may have been swept away by post-glacial floods or lie buried beneath tonnes of glacial debris. Poor preservation conditions may have resulted in the destruction of organic archaeological remains. Future geologic and archaeological survey and excavation in the ice-free corridor area may one day provide us with new information about the earliest people in this region.

Archaeology in the Ice-Free Corridor
Geology in the Ice-Free Corridor
Environment of the Ice-Free Corridor
A South to North Migration?


QuickTime videos:

Dr. Jon Driver

Dr. Jon Driver
Department of Archaeology
Simon Fraser University

Dr. Michael Wilson

Dr. Michael Wilson
Geology Department
Douglas College