PLoS ONE (2018-01-01)

Terminal Pleistocene epoch human footprints from the Pacific coast of Canada.

  • Duncan McLaren,
  • Daryl Fedje,
  • Angela Dyck,
  • Quentin Mackie,
  • Alisha Gauvreau,
  • Jenny Cohen

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 13, no. 3
p. e0193522


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Little is known about the ice age human occupation of the Pacific Coast of Canada. Here we present the results of a targeted investigation of a late Pleistocene shoreline on Calvert Island, British Columbia. Drawing upon existing geomorphic information that sea level in the area was 2-3 m lower than present between 14,000 and 11,000 years ago, we began a systematic search for archaeological remains dating to this time period beneath intertidal beach sediments. During subsurface testing, we uncovered human footprints impressed into a 13,000-year-old paleosol beneath beach sands at archaeological site EjTa-4. To date, our investigations at this site have revealed a total of 29 footprints of at least three different sizes. The results presented here add to the growing body of information pertaining to the early deglaciation and associated human presence on the west coast of Canada at the end of the Last Glacial Maximum.