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1,400-year-old fishing traps found in British Columbia

Radiocarbon dating of wooden stakes pounded into the mud of the Courtenay Estuary in British Columbia have been dated back 1,400 years.

They estimate there are the remains of perhaps 150,000 stakes in the estuary, although many are not immediately obvious as the remnants are below the mud.

But at low tide, the remains of huge numbers are visible, and careful mapping of 14,000 of them using GPS equipment has exposed intricate patterns.

They include large heart and chevron-shaped compounds, with long straight lines of stakes once used to help guide fish, particularly salmon and herring, into the traps as tides receded.

Fragments of basketry and cord have been found buried in the mud, indicating that many stakes were linked like fences to create pens to prevent fish escaping.

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