British Columbia

Clovis point discovery improves understanding of B.C. First Nations' history

Steve Kasstan and his team discovered a Clovis point, a rare, distinctive spearhead, near Pink Mountain in Treaty 8 land. The 13,000-year-old spearhead was originally developed in New Mexico. So what's it doing so far north?

Archaeologist says discovery adds to knowledge of North American migrations milennia ago

A photo of the Clovis point found near Fort St. John. The pictured fragment is about 2.5 centimetres long. (CH2M)

An archaeologist working near Fort St. John says a newly discovered spear point improves our understanding of First Nations history.

Steve Kasstan and his team discovered a Clovis point, a rare, distinctive spearhead linked to the Clovis culture, who were among the first to settle the Americas.

"This point is the oldest in British Columbia in terms of its style. It's fairly thin, it has a really narrow base, it's exquisitely made … when we found it, we knew immediately what we had," Kasstan told Daybreak North host Robert Doane.

From the south to the north

The point was found near near Pink Mountain on Treaty 8 land — an area to the east of the Rocky Mountains has been dubbed the Ice-Free Corridor, because when the ice age ended, humans used the area for habitation and migration when two ice sheets melted.

The site itself is about 13,000 years old and is the farthest-north site of its type discovered so far in Canada.

"One of the other interesting points about the site is we have some obsidian at the site, which is really black, it's super sharp," Kasstan said.

The discovery indicates some indigenous peoples moved from the south to the north of the continent, he said.

"We were able to track down where it came from, and it came from Anahim Peak, which is in the Chilcotin Plateau, and where the site is; that's over 500 kilometres to the southwest. … which kind of gives us a clue that people are moving north."

The artifacts from the site have been moved to the North Peace Museum in Fort St. John.

With files from Daybreak North

Map: Pink Mountain, B.C.

To hear the full story, click the audio labelled: Fort St. John discovery could change understanding of First Nations history