We may have been wrong about how the first people arrived in North America. The widely accepted narrative, as explained by Smithsonian Magazine, is that humans walked across a land bridge between Siberia and Alaska 13,000 years ago. But lately some have begun to suspect early humans actually arrived by boat further down the coast. A recent discovery by an anthropology student in Canada supports that idea. CTV News reports Alisha Gauvreau and her team were excavating on an island about 300 miles northwest of Victoria when they found evidence of an ancient village. A hearth buried 8 feet underground contained charcoal dated to 14,000 years old, History reports. Spears, tools, and fish hooks found nearby were dated similarly.
At 14,000 years old, the village is one of the oldest settlements ever found in North America—older than ancient Rome and three times older than the pyramids of Giza, the Vancouver Sun reports. “We just kind of sat there going, holy moly, this is old,” Gauvreau tells CTV. The discovery of the ancient settlement supports stories passed down by the elders of the Heiltsuk Nation. Those stories say the tribe’s ancestors survived the Ice Age by living on a strip of coastal land that didn’t freeze. “To think about how these stories survived all of that, only to be supported by this archaeological evidence is just amazing,” a member of the Heiltsuk Nation says. Gauvreau presented her findings this week at the annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology. (A university held ancient ice. Then the freezer broke.)