Digging up a piece of history

Andrew
Andrew Wagstaff
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Public join in historic Beaubassin dig

FORT LAWRENCE - A piece of a centuries old wine bottle, a lot of ceramics and a personalized smoking pipe.

Digging up a piece of history

FORT LAWRENCE - A piece of a centuries old wine bottle, a lot of ceramics and a personalized smoking pipe.

"The person probably carved it to fit his mouth even better," said archeologist Virginia Sheehan. "We love this thing because it's so much for one singular individual."

These are just a few of the artifacts uncovered in Parks Canada's archeological dig under way at the historic Beaubassin-Fort Lawrence site here. Parks Canada archeologists have been on the site for 10 days preparing the site and digging.

Yesterday a new component of the project began, one that opens up the dig to the public through a new tourism initiative.

"We're offering a new visitor experience for the Chignecto area, where the public can pay to participate in a one-day dig at Beaubassin-Fort Lawrence," said Parks Canada spokesperson Geraldine Arsenault.

Just a few days into the project, the team had already logged an impressive sampling of artifacts after having only scratched the surface, literally.

A lot of slag has been uncovered, which was expected, according to Sheehan.

"Slag usually comes from fire but it was probably waste from a blacksmith shop," she said. "We're happy to see things that have to do with fire, because of all the fires that happened here."

That is just one of many types of clues the archeologists are looking for, she explained. They are also looking at other inclusions in the soil, the types of soil, and the relation from one layer to another, e.g. soil that has come under intense fire is probably redder than other soil.

The dig is the first opportunity to assess the archeological ruins that are known to exist there, according to Parks Canada senior archeologist Charles Burke, who is heading up the project.

"The goal is, over a number of years, to identify as much property as possible so at a certain point we're able to create a map to say buildings were there, an outhouse was there, and say this was where the church was…," said Burke. "It's an opportunity to develop an inventory of the archeological resources on this site."

The public component of the dig will take place over three consecutive four-day weekends starting yesterday and concluding on Aug. 5. A limited number of participants will be allowed. For more information, call Fort Beausejour at (506) 364-5080.

awagstaff@amherstdaily.com

Organizations: Parks Canada

Geographic location: Chignecto

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