Northernmost Passenger Pigeon Fossils Found Near Site of Controversial Dam Project

A controversial dam and reservoir planned for British Columbia, Canada, is expected to flood over 12,000 acres (5000 hectares) of land in the Peace River valley. The Peace River Valley is home to Charlie Lake Cave (also known as Tse’K’wa), where archaeologist Jonathan Driver identified what may be the northernmost passenger pigeon fossils ever found. Charlie Lake Cave is just north of 56° latitude on the eastern side of the Canadian Rockies. Passenger pigeon bones were found in a level dated between 9,000-8,100 years ago, as well as in younger deposits.

While this site is not directly threatened by the Site C dam, hundreds of other archaeological and paleontological sites will be flooded by the BC Hydro project. Local First Nation tribes and other residents are also opposed to the project.

For more information, see The Globe and Mail story.

For more on Charlie Lake Cave, including video interviews with Jon Driver, check out A Journey to a New Land, created by the Simon Fraser University Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology
Reference:
Driver, Jonathan C., and Keith A. Hobson
1992 A 10 500-year sequence of bird remains from the Southern Boreal Forest region of western Canada. Arctic 45(2):105-110.

Archeologist Jonathan Driver at the Tse’K’wa cave. Photo by Barbara Winter, from theglobeandmail.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *