Southeast Alaska, specifically the continental shelf and islands on the west side of Prince of Wales Island, had a drastic sea-level rise at the end of the Last Pleistocene/Early Holocene.There was up to 176 m of sea-level rise, from -165 m to 11 m, in approximately 7000 years: an enormous change in a relatively short time. This submerged coastline would have been the along the route for early peoples journeying to the Americas.
The stone fish weir confirmed on the seafloor at 52 m (currently estimated to be 11,100 cal BP) demonstrates that early land-use locations (archaeological sites) are preserved on the continental shelf, supporting the coastal migration or kelp highway hypothesis. Additionally, the Shakan Bay weir may be one of the oldest confirmed weirs in the world.
The confirmation of this side-scan sonar feature can provide confirmation of other side-scan anomalies that are thought to be stone weirs structures.
Dr. Kelly Monteleone, an Underwater Archaeologist, will present this exciting find in our first 2023 PNWAS program.