Ancient people who lived in in Northern America about 5,000 years ago have living descendants today, new research suggests.
Researchers reached that conclusion after comparing DNA from both fossil remains found on the northern coast of British Columbia, Canada, and from living people who belong to several First Nations tribes in the area.
The new results, published today (July 3) in the journal PLOS ONE, are consistent with nearby archaeological evidence suggesting a fairly continuous occupation of the region for the last 5,000 years.
"We’re finding links that tie maternal lineages from as far back as the mid-Holocene 5,000 years ago to living descendants living today in Native American communities," said study co-author Ripan Malhi, a molecular anthropologist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Read more.
The excavation of what appears to be an ancient food storage system along the beach of Russell Island, between Fulford Harbour and Swartz Bay, is helping to cast more light on the history and development of local aboriginal groups.
Six years after researchers discovered two clam gardens along the beachfront, University of Victoria students are sifting through sand, gravel and shells to figure out how and when the gardens were built. Some researchers have suggested the gardens helped augment a community’s food supply.
The gardens are beach areas where clams grow naturally and have been enhanced to increase clam production. Read more.
NANAIMO, B.C. — Members of a Nanaimo First Nations group are outraged after crews contracted by BC Hydro damaged a documented ancient rock art site during work last week.
Douglas White, chief of the Snuneymuxw First Nation said the damage is disrespectful of native heritage and he doesn’t understand how crews could make the mistake, since existing petroglyph rock art sites are documented and protected by legislation.
Petroglyphs can be more than 2,000 years old and typically feature etched drawings that serve as a record of First Nations history on the surface of flat bedrock sandstone.
“This is a notoriously well-known site,” White said. “I don’t understand this to be a mistake that can be made … this is the kind of desecration where I would expect charges to be laid.” Read more.
The return of the bones of 11 Sto: lo ancestors from UBC Friday could one day help other First Nations get their ancestral remains back from other institutions.
The Sto: lo bones were returned during a ceremony at the Sto: lo Research and Resource Management Centre (SRRMC), marking a major milestone in a five-year process that has involved UBC, Sto: lo Nation, Sto: lo Tribal Council and other Sto: lo First Nations.
The remains had been held at UBC’s Laboratory of Archaeology starting in the 1950s. Because the founder of the lab, Charles Borden, was the only resident archaeologist in B.C. at that time, people who found remains on farms and construction sites routinely boxed them up and sent them to UBC. Read more.
PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. - Along the banks of B.C.’s Babine River sits an archeological treasure trove, an ancient village that may have been used as a crossroad for First Nations dating back more than 1,300 years.
While the Babine Lake First Nation knew their ancestors’ village was there, it’s untilled ground for archeologists.
Before the arrival of Prof. Farid Rahemtulla and his crew from the Department of Anthropology at the University of Northern British Columbia, experts hadn’t searched the site.
"It’s just one of those places that hasn’t really been explored very well in terms of archaeology," Rahemtulla said in an interview.
The village site is about 100 kilometres from Smithers in B.C.’s northern Interior. Read more.
A six-tonne boulder covered in aboriginal engravings is finally being returned to the B.C. Interior, bringing closure to a first nations community whose territory it was taken from nearly 90 years ago.
"It was taken during a time when we didn’t have a say and we had no rights, but now times are changing and we can help undo the wrongs of the past," said Phyllis Webstad, a member of the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation, who is coordinating the repatriation. "It’s healing for us."
The petroglyph-covered rock, which is carved with images of serpents, deer and elk, was uncovered along the Fraser River by a gold prospector in 1925, and moved to Vancouver’s Stanley Park a year later. Read more.
A massive Southwestern Ontario wind turbine project is uncovering ancient signs of the region’s first people, findings that could affect future projects.
Archeological studies required before wind turbines can be built have turned up evidence of First Nations’ activity just after the glaciers retreated at the end of the last Ice Age.
In what’s considered a rare find, archeologists working on the K2 Wind Farm project north of Goderich found hand-fashioned stone tools and artifacts in Ashfield Colborne Wawanosh Township from the so-called Paleo-Indian period - 10,000 to 12,000 years ago, when the area had a harsh, tundra-like environment.
Other archeological work in preparation for wind farms has turned up later native artifacts and items from early European settlement.
"This speaks to the use of our homelands for thousands of years. It’s a piece of the historic record," said Dean Jacobs, director of the Walpole Island First Nation Heritage Centre. Read more.
Two studies led by scientists from the University of Pennsylvania and National Geographic’s Genographic Project reveal new information about the migration patterns of the first humans to settle the Americas. The studies identify the historical relationships among various groups of Native American and First Nations peoples and present the first clear evidence of the genetic impact of the groups’ cultural practices.
For many of these populations, this is the first time their genetics have been analyzed on a population scale. One study, published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, focuses on the Haida and Tlingit communities of southeastern Alaska. The other study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,considers the genetic histories of three groups that live in the Northwest Territories of Canada.Establishing shared markers in the DNA of people living in the circumarctic region, the team of scientists uncovered evidence of interactions among the tribes during the last several thousand years. Read more.