Quentin Mackie

Quentin Mackie
Associate Professor
Office: COR B342

PhD Southampton

Area of expertise

Archaeology, Haida Gwaii, Salish Sea, stone tools, Northwest Coast

For the past fifteen years I have worked routinely in Haida Gwaii, in collaboration with Parks Canada archaeologists. Together we have found or excavated a series of sites from near the Pleistocene-Holocene boundary (the period when modern climatic and vegetation conditions were established). This is a time of rapid environmental change – literally, it may be the Time of Transformation related in Haida oral histories.

Early sites on Haida Gwaii are changing our thoughts on the earliest occupation of the Northwest Coast and the Americas. Seeing how Ancestral Haida people were fluent in marine resource use and organic technologies so early adds context to broader models of early West Coast occupation. They also show human occupation at a time of extreme environmental change, which attests to the resilience of these early coastal adaptations. We also maintain a research interest in the archaeology of the drowned landscapes of the continental shelf.

More recently, Daryl Fedje and I have started a new project focused on the Pleistocene-Holocene transition on Quadra Islands and the surrounding Discovery Islands in the northern Salish Sea.  This Tula-funded research aims to understand human response to rapidly falling sea levels as well as geoarchaeological understanding of site formation processes during times of rapid environmental change. Follow our blogs to find out what we are up to: BC Studies and Hakai.


  • Archaeology
  • Haida Gwaii IN THE NEWS...
  • Salish Sea
  • Stone tools
  • Northwest Coast


Fall 2023

  • ANTH 392 Archaeology of Coasts and Islands
  • ANTH 449 Archaeology of the Northwest Coast

Spring 2024

  • ANTH 150  Exploring Anthropology
  • ANTH 348  Peopling of New Territories

Current projects

Haida Gwaii

My main current research is a collaboration with Daryl Fedje to investigate the early human occupation of the Discovery Islands, principally Quadra Island near Campbell River.  By carefully reconstructing sea level history, which was much higher than modern at the end of the last glaciation and then fell rapidly, we are able to find sites in inland locations which were previously coastal.  Using LIDAR (aerial laser scanning) we can create highly accurate and detailed maps of the land under the forest canopy.  This helps us locate areas of potential.  To date, we have discovered dozens of new sites older than 5,000 years, and anticipate a handful of these will have demonstrated ages of 10-13,500 years ago.  This project is generously funded through the Hakai Institute and Tula Foundation.

I am still engaged with the archaeology of Haida Gwaii, especially the Pleistocene-Holocene transition.  This includes sites on raised marine shorelines, in the modern intertidal zone, and underwater to depths of 145 metres.

Graduate student projects

I have supervised graduate student projects at both M.A. and PhD level on a wide variety of Northwest Coast topics. Most recently these include: mortuary archaeology on Southern Vancouver Island; environmental archaeology of the Dundas Islands; sampling theory and Northwest Coast household archaeology; unifacial technology on Haida Gwaii; palaeobotany in shell middens; microblade technology in Haida Gwaii; early Holocene hearth fauna;  Culturally Modified Trees on Vancouver Island; Stone Tools and Communities of Practice on Quadra Island, Paleoethnobotany of early Holocene Haida Gwaii, Lidar-based predictive modelling on Quadra Island, and geochemical application in stone tool analysis. While most students work on coastal projects, often as part of my current field or laboratory research, I have also supervised projects involving material from Idaho, Alaska and the Yukon.

Selected publications


  • 2001 - Settlement Archaeology in a Fjordland Archipelago: Network Analysis, Social Practice and the Built Environment of Western Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada since 2,000 BP. Oxford: BAR
  • 2003 - (R. G. Matson, G. Coupland and Q. Mackie, eds.) Emerging from the Mist: Studies in Northwest Coast Culture History. Vancouver: UBC Press.

Articles and chapters

  • 2014 - McLaren, Duncan, Daryl Fedje, Murray B. Hay, Quentin Mackie, Ian J. Walker, Dan H. Shugar, Jordan B.R. Eamer, Olav B. Lian, and Christina Neadorf.  A Post-glacial Sea Level Hinge on the Central Pacific Coast of Canada.  Quaternary Science Reviews 97: 148-169.

  • 2013 -Mackie, Quentin, Loren Davis, Daryl Fedje, Duncan McLaren, and Amy Gusick.  Locating Pleistocene-age Submerged Archaeological Sites on the Northwest Coast: Current Status of Research and Future Directions.  Pp 133-147 in Kelly E. Graf, Caroline V. Ketron, & Michael R. Waters(eds.)Paleoamerican Odyssey, Texas A&M Press.
  • 2011 - McLaren, Duncan, Andrew Martindale, Quentin Mackie, and Daryl Fedje. Relict Shorelines and Shell Middens of the Dundas Islands Archipelago.  Canadian Journal of Archaeology 35: 86-116.

  • 2011 - Fedje, D.W., Q. Mackie, T. Lacourse, and D.S. McLaren. Younger Dryas Environments and Archaeology on the Northwest Coast of North America. Quaternary International 242:452-462.
  • 2009 - D. Fedje, Q. Mackie, N. Smith & D. McLaren. Function, Visibility and Interpretation of Archaeological Sites at the Pleistocene-Holocene Boundary in Haida Gwaii. In T. Goebel and I. Buvit (eds) Explaining Lithic Assemblage Variability Across Beringia. College Station: Texas A & M University Press.
  • 2008 - D. Fedje, Q. Mackie, D. McLaren & T. Christensen. A Projectile Point Sequence for Haida Gwaii, In R. Carlson and M. Magne Projectile Points of Northwestern North America. Pp. 21-38 Simon Fraser University Press.
  • 2006 - M. Steffen & Q. Mackie. An Experimental Approach to Understanding Burnt Fish Bone Assemblages within Archaeological Hearth Contexts. Canadian Journal of Zooarchaeology 23:11-39
  • 2005 - Q. Mackie & Steven Acheson. The Graham Tradition. In D. Fedje and R. Mathewes (eds.) Haida Gwaii: Human history and environment from the time of Loon to the time of the Iron People. Pp.274-302. Vancouver: UBC Press.
  • 2005 - D. W. Fedje & Q. Mackie. Overview of Cultural History. In D. Fedje and R. Mathewes (eds.) Haida Gwaii: Human history and environment from the time of Loon to the time of the Iron People. Pp 154-162 Vancouver: UBC Press.
  • 2005 - D. W. Fedje, A.P. Mackie, R.J. Wigen. Q. Mackie & C.R. Lake. Kilgii Gwaay: An Early Maritime Site in the South of Haida Gwaii. In D. Fedje and R. Mathewes (eds.) Haida Gwaii: Human history and environment from the time of Loon to the time of the Iron People. Pp 187-203. Vancouver: UBC Press.
  • 2005 - D. McLaren, R. J. Wigen, Q. Mackie, and D. Fedje. Bear Hunting at the Pleistocene/Holocene Transition on the Northern Northwest Coast of North America. Canadian Journal of Zooarchaeology 22:1-32
  • 2004 - C. L. Ramsey, P. Griffith, D. Fedje, R. Wigen & Q. Mackie. Preliminary Investigation of a Late Wisconsinan Fauna from K1 cave, Queen Charlotte Islands (Haida Gwaii), Canada. Quaternary Research 62(1): 105-109
  • 2004 - Daryl Fedje, Quentin Mackie, E. James Dixon & T. Heaton.  Late Wisconsin Environments and Archaeological Visibility on the Northern Northwest Coast. In D. Madsen (ed.) Entering America: Northeast Asia and Beringia Before the Last Glacial Maximum. SLC: University of Utah Press
  • 2004 - T. Orchard & Quentin Mackie.  Environmental Archaeology: Principles and Case Studies. In T. Pitcher (ed.) Back to the Future: Advances in Methodology for Modelling and Evaluating Past Ecosystems as Future Policy Goals. Pp. 64-73. UBC: Fisheries Centre Research Reports 12(1)
  • 2004 - N. Haggan, N. J. Turner, J. Carpenter, J. T. Jones, Q. Mackie & C. Menzies.  12,000+ Years of Change: Linking Traditional and Modern Ecosystem Science in the Pacific Northwest. Proceedings of the 16th Society for Ecological Restoration Conference, Victoria, BC