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A Journey to a New Land

Bison
Post secondary Level Resources

Charlie Lake Cave

Charlie Lake Cave is located in the Peace River area in northeastern British Columbia. The site contains evidence of a series of temporary occupations, spanning the last 11,000 years.

The lowest (earliest) level of the site contained several stone artifacts, including a fluted point, six retouched flakes and a small stone bead. This level has been dated to 10,770±120 years BP. Associated animal remains included bison, snowshoe hare, large hare, ground squirrel and fish. The bison bones exhibited cut marks that researchers believe were created by humans using stone tools. Charlie Lake Cave is the only archaeological site in Canada in which fluted point tools and associated animal remains have been found in an undisturbed context.

Charlie Lake Cave is situated right in the middle of the ice-free corridor region. However, evidence from the site suggests that people may not have moved from north to south down the corridor, but instead may have moved from south to north, following herds of bison. This is suggested from DNA analysis of the bison remains, which indicates that some of the bison found at Charlie Lake originated in the southern regions of the North American continent. In addition, the fluted point found at Charlie Lake Cave is similar to points found at the Indian Creek and Mill Iron sites in Montana. These sites were occupied before Charlie Lake Cave, which suggests that perhaps the tool technology was developed in the south, and brought to Charlie Lake Cave at a later time when the tool makers and their descendants moved north.

Charlie Lake Cave

Further Reading:

Fladmark, Knut R., Jonathan C. Driver and Diana Alexander
1988. The Paleoindian Component at Charlie Lake Cave (HbRf 39), British Columbia. American Antiquity 53(2): 371-384.

Driver, Jonathan C.
1996 Stratigraphy, Radiocarbon Dating and Culture History of Charlie Lake Cave, British Columbia. Arctic 49(3):265-277