Human footprints found on B.C. shoreline may be oldest on continent

Researchers believe the fossilized footprints are 13,000 years old

VICTORIA — Human footprints found embedded below the shoreline of a remote British Columbia island could be the oldest ever discovered in North America.

Researchers believe the fossilized footprints found on Calvert Island in Queen Charlotte Sound on B.C.’s Central Coast are over 13,000 years old, more than 2,000 years older than human imprints found in Mexico.

Archeologist Duncan McLaren says the footprints are being tested for their age but charcoal found above the impressions was radiocarbon dated at 13,200 years old.

McLaren says about a dozen human footprints were found embedded and preserved in clay excavated below the high tide line on the island, an area that has seen little change despite ice ages and sea level shifts elsewhere.

He says evidence of a campfire was also found near the imprints and the sediment above the embedded fossils indicates thousands of years of human activity in the area.

McLaren says a team of researchers from the Hakai (Hak-AYE’) Institute, University of Victoria and local First Nations are working at the island site.

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