Is Canada Home to North America’s Oldest Settlement?


canadas oldest settlement

On the remote islands of central British Columbia, the Heiltsuk First Nation tribe have passed down stories of ancient villages clinging to the coasts there for millennia. Now, an incredible scientific discovery appears to corroborate this oral tradition. Researchers have unearthed a 14,000-year-old settlement in BC, which could be the oldest ever found in North America.


Older than the Pyramids

Researchers from the Hakai Institute and University of Victoria have uncovered ancient artefacts on tiny Triquet Island, 500 kilometres’ northwest of Vancouver. The discovery of 14,000-year-old tools includes fishing hooks, spears and firelighters, and dates the village as three times older than the Pyramids of Giza. The unprecedented find could change the world’s understanding of early civilization in North America.

Alisha Gauvreau, an anthropology PhD student at UVic who has been excavating on Triquet Island, says: “I remember when we get [sic] the dates back and we just kind of sat there going, holy moly, this is old. What this is doing is just changing our idea of the way in which North America was first peopled.”


Not only is this region of Canada stunningly wild and beautiful, it is now world-famous for its rich heritage and history. The settlement has only just been discovered, so we’re more than a little envious of the fascinating job the Hakai Institute Research team have ahead of them… A holiday to British Columbia is in order!


America’s Oldest Settlements

We’ve established that BC was home to some ancient peoples, but just how old are America’s oldest settlements? Let’s see how Triquet Island compares to other archaeological finds – is it older or younger? Take a look at 10 of America’s oldest settlements below:


1. Bluefish Caves – Yukon, Canada

24,000 BCE – Older

This series of three caves was initially known to the First Nations. Anthropologists became fascinated with the Yukon site when they found evidence of bones worked by human tools dating to 24,000 BCE.


2. Triquet Island – BC, Canada

12,000 BCE

More than just a few bones or tools, this ancient settlement represents the oldest village discovered so far in North America. Watch this space, as news of the discovery only broke a couple of weeks ago.


3. Paisley Caves – Oregon, USA

12,000 BCE – Younger

Archaeologists found ancient stone spear points at this site. But the most incredible (and bizarre!) find was fossilised human faeces, preserved by the dry environment, which date back 14,000 years.


4. Baffin Island – Nunavut, Canada

2000 BCE – Younger

Baffin Island has been inhabited by Inuit peoples for centuries, with suggestion of Viking settlements dating to 1000 BCE. Artefacts have also been discovered that suggest even earlier settlement.

Tracy throwing in the harpoon competition. #tooniktyme #tooniktyme2017 #iqaluit #nunavut #baffinisland

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5. Teotihuacan – Mexico

100 BCE – Younger

This ancient Mesoamerican city is famous for its pyramids, and was at least the sixth largest city in the world during its epoch.


6. Cahokia – Missouri, USA

600 CE – Younger

The Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site is the site of a Native American city across the Mississippi River from St Louis. This was the largest urban settlement of a culture which began over 1000 years before European contact.

#Cahokia #cahokiamounds #mississippianculture

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7. Mesa Verde – Colorado, USA

600 – 1300 CE – Younger

This National Park in America protects some incredibly well-preserved dwellings of the Ancestral Pueblo people. It is known for its spectacular cliff caves, including the 150-room Cliff Palace.


8. L’Anse aux Meadows – Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada

1003 CE – Younger

On the northernmost tip of Newfoundland, this site is famous as the only confirmed Norse or Viking site in North America. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


9. Oraibi – Arizona, USA

1100 CE – Younger

This is one of the oldest permanently-inhabited settlements in the US, with members of the Hopi tribe within Navajo County still living here.


10. Machu Picchu – Peru

1450 CE – Younger

This Inca citadel perches on the top of a mountain crest, 2,430 metres above sea level. The famous ruin is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was voted one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

Machu Picchu, Peru | Photo by @craighowes Tag who you’d go here with! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀#macchupicchu #peru #exploreperu #temple #neverstopexploring #nature #landscape #mountains #outdoors #adventure #adventureisoutthere #wildernessculture #wilderness #amazing #planetearth #awpix #world #wanderlust #cloudscape #travel #traveller #hiking #exploring #hiddencity

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Image credit: Looking northeast over Calvert Island. Hakai Institute’s Calvert Island Field Station is nestled in the middle right of the photo. Photographer: Keith Holmes

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