Abstract

We have used high-resolution digital terrain imaging and sea-floor sampling to reveal drowned late glacial to early postglacial terrestrial landscapes at water depths as great as 150 m. In situ tree stumps and shellfish-rich paleobeaches are present on these drowned landscapes. A stone tool encrusted with barnacles and bryozoa was recovered from a drowned delta flood plain now 53 m below mean sea level. This is the first tangible evidence that the formerly subaerial broad banks of the western North American Continental Shelf may have been occupied by humans in earliest Holocene and possibly late-glacial time. Analyses (14C) of the drowned terrestrial and intertidal deposits were used to refine the local sea-level curve, which shows very rapid change within this glacio-isostatically dynamic region.

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