Quadra island dating
“Everybody thought he was crazy,” says Christine Roberts, in charge of archaeology for the Wei Wai Kum First Nation in Campbell River, British Columbia.People assumed the rocks were artifacts of retreating glaciers, she says, but elders in the community confirmed they were deliberate constructions."The really neat thing is they're still there, through storms and everything," said Christine Roberts an archeologist with the Wei Wai Kum First Nation, who co-authored the paper. Roberts added that clam gardens are known as "low xwi we" in her language, meaning "to roll the rocks" — a reference to the way they were constructed."They're still perfect and usable."Dana Lepofsky, a professor at Simon Fraser University who co-authored the study, said that as archeologists, the researchers "can't help but be excited" about pinning down the age of the clam gardens. There's evidence that indigenous people have been harvesting shellfish along the Pacific coast for 14,000 years, and that they used other food cultivation and management practices, such as cultivating an aquatic tuber called wapato and managed fish trapping, for more than 3,000 years. Each was individually owned, and even children often got small ones to learn and practise on.To the untrained eye, the rows of rocks piled near the tideline on British Columbia’s Quadra Island could easily be dismissed as the constructions of bored beachgoers.But new research using radiocarbon dating and analyses of ancient landscapes reveals that these rock walls are the remnants of a technology at least 3,500 years old—evidence of an aquaculture system known as clam gardens that once helped feed a much larger population of coastal Indigenous peoples.
Famous for its wolfeel dens, Whiskey Point at The Rock is a current dive that is best done from a boat so divers can go with the flow of the tide.
Quadra Island is the central community of the Discovery Islands, a group of small islands located along the Inside Passage seaway between Vancouver Island and mainland British Columbia, Canada.
Quadra is home to a lively, close-knit community from all walks of life and all parts of the world.
Roberts, whose community is located in nearby Campbell River on the east coast of Vancouver Island, said so far, 89 clam gardens have been counted just in the local area. Louie Wilson, Nicole Smith and Christine Smith excavate a clam garden on Quadra Island. The researchers worked quickly at those rare times, searching for trapped clams and rocks that had been turned upside down during the construction of the walls, sometimes burying and preserving the barnacles attached to them.
The wall is exposed during daylight hours for only a few hours during low tide a few days a month during the summer months. (Dana Lepofsky)The only time the clam garden walls on Quadra Island are exposed during daylight hours — and can be excavated — is during a few hours at a time during low tides, which occur only a few days a month, between May and August, said Nicole Smith, the independent archeologist who led the study for the Hakai Institute, an organization that supports science on the B. Because those clams and barnacles contain organic material, their age could be determined with radiocarbon dating.