There’s a nice audio interview and slide show from the CBC with Jenny Lewis of Kleanza Consulting archaeologists about a dig going on along the Skeena River near Gitwangak (Kitwanga) in Gitxan Territory. The project is apparently a CN Rail siding repair and there have been many, many stone tools found, including some in stratified setting with carbon dates associated.
Remarkably, Lewis asserts that they have material dating to around 9,000 years ago, in addition to the more recent finds. This would certainly make it amongst the oldest, if not the oldest, archaeological material known from the Skeena River area, although it is not specified how the earliest date estimates were arrived at. The well-known sites in the Kitselas Canyon, for example, are generally all within the last 5,000 years if memory serves me right.
Lewis also does a nice job of contextualizing the dig in relation to the present day interests and outlook of the Gitxsan, and the CBC’s Betsy Trumpener does a good job of interviewing her. It’s one of the better archaeology in the media experiences of late – I suppose there may well be underlying tensions about the development project itself and these are not raised, but overall I enjoyed the interview and would like to know more. The only flaw is that the CBC’s slideshow does not have captions, or, to be precise, it has empty captions.
Anyway, if anyone knows exactly how the 9000 year old estimate is reached, post in the comments! I got the impression the early date was not from radiocarbon dating, so perhaps stylistic characteristics of artifacts?