Ancient 3,800-Year-Old Underwater Garden Discovered In The Pacific Northwest

Archaeologists have uncovered what they think is the earliest garden ever discovered in the Pacific Northwest, but it was not your conventional vegetable patch. This one was underwater. Located about 30 kilometers (19 miles) east of Vancouver, the garden is thought to have belonged to the Katzie First Nation, who created it to cultivate an aquatic plant known as wapato at least 3,800 years ago.

The wapato plant (Sagittaria latifolia) is a wetland species that was a vitally important crop to the Native Americans. Found naturally in the Americas, it was never domesticated, but the native tribes did cultivate it. To grow well, the tubers need a shallow, marshy environment with little to no current and good nutrient-rich sediment. To provide this for the plants, the local tribes created underwater gardens consisting of rock platforms and walls.

What the archaeologists have effectively discovered is an ancient pavement. But this pavement would have been under a couple of feet of water. The flat stones are…