Daryl Fedje

Daryl Fedje
Assistant Professor

Limited Term

Office: Corentt B336
I currently hold a half-time limited term position with the University of Victoria funded through the Tula Foundation. I’ve joined UVic following a 30-year career as an archaeologist working for Parks Canada in western Canada, primarily the National Parks on BC’s west coast. At Parks a major focus over the past several years was using paleoecology to inform research into the early prehistory of Haida Gwaii.

My research interests continue to be focused on Quaternary paleoecology and the early human history of the Northwest Coast.  I am currently collaborating with Duncan McLaren on research in the Hakai area of the Central Coast and am initiating a research programme focused on the Discovery Islands (between Campbell River and the mouth of Bute Inlet).  This latter work will be based out of the University of Victoria and the Tula Foundation Heriot Bay research centre on Quadra Island.  The programme will begin with paleoenvironmental reconstruction to set the framework upon which to investigate the early post-glacial human history of the area.

In future years this project will include archaeological survey for and investigation of archaeological sites associated with early Holocene and early post-glacial landscapes.  The palaeoecological research will include investigation of geological sections and cores from sediment basins (bogs, ponds, lagoons, etc.) from which samples will be analyzed for changes in sea level position as well as for changes in vegetation communities and climate. Sea level histories will be developed by dating the change from freshwater to marine conditions (as seen through shifting diatom assemblages) at a series of basins with sill elevations above and below modern. Reconstruction of past vegetation communities and climate will be accomplished primarily by plant pollen and micro-fossil analyses of the same sections and sediment basin cores.  The archaeological component of this research will involve archaeologists from the local First Nations and the University of Victoria (colleagues and students), as well as professional archaeologists. Initial investigations will focus on inventory of cultural sites along the modern shore as well as on ancient landforms as identified through the paleoecological work.  Inventory will be followed up with limited excavation of select sites with high interpretive potential.  Results of this work will be disseminated to the First Nations, funding agency and the Province through annual reports. Annual presentations will be made to the local First Nations, to academic conferences and to the general public.  Results will also be disseminated through scientific publications.


  • Archaeology
  • Quaternary paleoecology
  • Haida Gwaii

Current projects

The Hakai Ancient Landscapes Archaeology Project

The Discovery Islands Ancient Landscapes Project

The Discovery Islands Ancient Landscapes project is funded through the Tula Foundation based in Heriot Bay, BC. The area being considered for investigation includes Quadra, Read, Maurelle and southern Sonora Islands. These lands and adjacent waters include portions of the territories of the We Wai Kai, We Wai Kum, Xwemalhku, Komoks, Klahoose and Kwiakah First Nations.
As described above, the main purposes of this project are to better understand post-glacial environmental change and to gain insights into the human history of the region over the last 15,000 years.

In addition to a focus on early post-glacial to early Holocene paleoecological and archaeological deposits, the investigations will include recording and revisiting sites from all time periods. Archaeological site types and features that have been documented to date include: village sites, shell middens, pictographs, petroglyphs, lithic scatters, fish traps, canoe runs, clam gardens and culturally modified trees.


Articles and chapters

  • Fedje, Daryl, Quentin Mackie, Terri Lacourse and Duncan McLaren (2011). Younger Dryas Environments and Archaeology on the Northwest Coast of North America. Quaternary International 242: 452-462.
  • Fedje, Daryl, Quentin Mackie, Nicole Smith and Duncan McLaren (2011). Function, Visibility and Interpretation of Archaeological Assemblages at the Pleistocene-Holocene Transition in Haida Gwaii. In: From the Yenisei to the Yukon: Interpreting Lithic Assemblage Variability in Late Pleistocene/Early Holocene Beringia, edited by Ted Goebel and Ian Buvit, Texas A&M University Press, pp 323-342.
  • Mackie, Quentin, Daryl Fedje, Duncan McLaren, Nicole Smith and Iain McKechnie (2011). Early Environments and Archaeology of Coastal British Columbia. In: Trekking the Shore: Changing Coastlines and the Antiquity of Coastal Settlement, edited by Nuno Bicho, Jonathan Haws, and Loren Davis, Springer Publishing Company, New York, pp 51-104.
  • McLaren, Duncan, Andrew Martindale, Quentin Mackie, and Daryl Fedje (2011). Relict Shorelines and Shell Middens of the Dundas Islands Archipelago. Canadian Journal of Archaeology 35: 86-116.
  • Fedje, Daryl, Ian Sumpter and John Southon (2009). Sea levels and archaeology in the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve. Canadian Journal of Archaeology 33: 234-253.
  • Fedje, Daryl, Quentin Mackie, Duncan McLaren and Tina Christensen (2008). A projectile point sequence for Haida Gwaii. In: Projectile point sequences in northwestern North America, edited by R.L. Carslon and M.P. Magne. Simon Fraser University Archaeology Press, Vancouver.
  • Fedje, Daryl and Rolf Mathewes (editors) (2005). Haida Gwaii, human history and environment from the time of Loon to the time of the Iron People, Vancouver: UBC Press. 425pp.