A team of Canadian researchers have uncovered a remarkable new geological record from the late Bronze Age in northern Ontario, and it shows that the landscape of the region was highly urbanised by the first millennium BC.
In a study published in the journal Nature, the research team led by Dr John Baillie of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver found evidence that a complex network of lakes, marshes and wetlands existed at the time of the last Ice Age.
The team also discovered that a huge number of large stone structures built in the same period appear to have been used to construct these lakes, and their size indicates that the region probably had an extensive irrigation system at some time.
“What we’ve uncovered is a huge, very complex network that appears to have existed in northern Canada at some point between the last ice age and the Bronze Age,” said Dr Baillies team leader Professor Daniel Auld of the UBC Faculty of Earth Sciences.
Baillie and his team analyzed a number of sediment cores from several lakes in Lake Athabasca, which is part of the Athabascan Basin.
They found evidence of an irrigation system that extended for several kilometres along a network of canals and lakes, including at least five lakes that are clearly indicated by their size and location.
They also found that the lake network extended north into northern Saskatchewan and Manitoba, suggesting that the network extended from the north into the interior of Canada.
This was the first time anyone had found evidence for the extensive network of water canals that were used to irrigate large areas of northern Ontario.
Baillier said the network of large water canles was probably not the result of a single flood but a complex system of canal networks that extended from Lake Athawac to the coast of Saskatchewan.
It is very rare to find evidence for such a complex irrigation system, which would have allowed water to flow from the top of a lake to a canals below.
Water canals were a major irrigation system in the early Bronze Age.
Bailie said the researchers believe that this network was used to draw water from lakes that were far more shallow than the surrounding lakes.
Dr Bailliet’s team also found evidence suggesting that a large number of stone structures were built in northern Lake Athapascan by people in the late Iron Age.
These structures included a large, circular stone enclosure, a number more stone structures, and a few smaller stone structures.
These structures are clearly identifiable by the size and shape of their sides and edges, and by their placement on the surface of the ground, which indicates that they were built at a location close to the source of the water, and perhaps at a lower level, than the rest of the structure.
The researchers found that these structures could be connected to one another by an elaborate network of channels that was probably built in such a way that the water from the water canons flowed into the channel and into the structure below.
These channels are still visible today in Lake Victoria and Lake Athawa, and also in the site of the first major irrigation network that Bailliel and his colleagues identified.
What they discovered was that there was an extensive network stretching from Lake Alberta to Lake Athavac and into northwestern Saskatchewan.
The scientists believe that the system extended from north into southwestern Canada and the interior.
They also found a number small stone structures that are likely used to house animals, but no evidence that any humans were in the area at the same time.
“We found that people built these large, complex structures, which are clearly visible in the sediments and on the landscape,” said Bailliance.
“They were probably used for irrigation and possibly as storage facilities.
These were probably constructed by farmers in the region.
We don’t know much about how these people lived.
We’re not even sure what they were doing.
For a long time, archaeologists have been puzzled about how this extensive network was built, and the implications of this discovery are important,” said James Rolfe, a University of Michigan geologist who was not involved in the study.
“This study brings a lot of fresh information to the table.
This is a new approach to understanding the history of early agricultural communities, and we hope it will help us understand the complex landscape of early North America.”
In recent years, archaeologists in Canada have uncovered evidence of human occupation in the Bronze and Iron Age in the Athapasas region.
Baellier said there are several reasons for this.
“The first is the fact that we have so much evidence for early agricultural activity in the province,” he said.
“It shows that this area was used for farming and gathering of grain by people from all over northern Canada.”
He added that the discovery of evidence of early human occupation of the area is a positive development.
“In recent times, archaeologists are trying to find a link between the earliest settlement of the North American