http://www.digitaljournal.com/tech-and-science/science/oldest-known-human-footprints-found-on-canada-s-pacific-coast/article/518724

Humans walked on a Pacific coast Canadian beach 13,000 years ago

Posted Mar 31, 2018 by Karen Graham
In 2014, archaeologists digging in the sands of Calvert Island, British Columbia, made an unexpected discovery: a single footprint pressed into the clay below the surface. Subsequent excavations turned up 28 more footprints, the oldest in North America.
Photograph of track #17 beside digitally-enhanced image of same feature using the DStretch plugin fo...
Photograph of track #17 beside digitally-enhanced image of same feature using the DStretch plugin for ImageJ. - Note the toe impressions and arch indicating that this is a right footprint.
Duncan McLaren.
That single footprint led to the discovery of a cluster of footprints, presumably those of two adults and a child, according to Archaeologists Dr. Daryl Fedje and Dr. Duncan McLaren, with the Hakai Institute and the University of Victoria, according to Digital Journal in 2015.
The footprints were found during excavation work below the high-tide line on a shoreline of Calvert Island. “This provides evidence that people were inhabiting the region at the end of the last ice age,” said McLaren.
View across the beach at EjTa-4 with Calvert Island in the foreground and Hecate Island in the backg...
View across the beach at EjTa-4 with Calvert Island in the foreground and Hecate Island in the background.
Jim Stafford.
The tracks have clear impressions of toes, and even the foot's arch and analysis show the others were also made by bare feet. A few are even clear enough that you can see, millennia later, that their feet slipped and slid while walking across the wet, slippery clay of the beach.
The team also found several stone tools, but none resembling the fluted projectile point of the Clovis style, usually associated with early North Americans. Clovis points have never been found this far north in Canada, suggesting these early humans used unfluted projectile points instead.
Referring to the study published in the online journal PLOS One March 28, McLaren said, “This article details the discovery of footprints on the west coast of Canada with associated radiocarbon dates of 13,000 years before present, This finding provides evidence of the seafaring people who inhabited this area during the tail end of the last major ice age.”
Drone based aerial photograph of EjTa-4 showing the location of the excavation unit with footprints....
Drone based aerial photograph of EjTa-4 showing the location of the excavation unit with footprints. Imagery courtesy of the Hakai Institute. The shell midden boundary is based on information provided by Farid Rahemtulla.
Hakai Institute
Pacific coast is different than it was 13,000 years ago
Canada's Pacific coast today is covered in thick temperate rainforests with stands of mixed conifers, mostly western hemlock, Sitka spruce, western red cedar, shore pine and yellow cedar. The outer central coast of British Columbia is dotted with thousands of low relief islands, many of them exposed to the ocean.
Calvert Island is one of the larger islands and is unique in that in its flatter areas, sphagnum dominated bogs have developed. The highest point on the island is Mount Buxton, with an elevation of 1,000 meters (3,281 feet). Its overall shoreline is rocky while the Northwestern Calvert Island, on the outer Central Coast of BC features large sandy beaches in both protected and in exposed locales.
During the last Ice Age, a huge expanse of ice called the Cordilleran Ice Sheet stretched to Canada’s Pacific Coast. As the ice sheet began to recede from the Pacific coastline, it appears to have done so, leaving patches, small areas of thawed land called refugia. These areas were just large enough to support plants and animals - including humans.
View of the 4 x 2 metre excavation unit.
View of the 4 x 2 metre excavation unit.
Joanne McSporran
Calvert Island is also unique in that it is situated between two areas of vastly differing sea level history. During the Last Glacial Maximum, around 11,000 to 14,000 years ago, sea levels were as much as 10 feet lower than they are today around Calvert Island. But even so, humans would have still needed some sort of watercraft to access the island.
In the new study, researchers suggest that the prints may have been made by people “disembarking from watercraft and moving towards a drier central activity area.”
No boat or another type of watercraft has been found on Calvert Island, but it is without a doubt that some form of transport was needed to reach the island, just as it is today. Very few archaeological sites have been found this far North, and many of them are much younger, dating to 12,700 to 11,800 years ago.
Photograph showing track #4 which has discernable toe drag marks.

This track was later pedestalle...
Photograph showing track #4 which has discernable toe drag marks. This track was later pedestalled and removed to the lab.
Joanne McSporran
Calvert Island is located just a few miles south of Triquet Island, home to one of the oldest known North American settlements - a 14,000-year-old village where archaeologists recently found fish hooks, stone tools, a hearth and other ancient relics.
The big takeaway from this study is that it adds to the growing amount of evidence that humans were thriving on North America’s Pacific coast during the last ice age. And as you look at the images of the footprints, just imagine what it must have been like 13,000 years ago.