Arche­ol­ogy dig be­gins in Port La Tour

Vis­i­tors wel­come to visit site and see project par­tic­i­pants at work

South Shore Breaker - - LOCAL - KATHY JOHN­SON TRICOUNTY VAN­GUARD edi­tor@southshore­

The arche­ol­ogy dig at the Fort Saint Louis Na­tional His­toric

Site in Port La Tour, Shel­burne County, is now un­der­way.

More than 60 com­mu­nity mem­bers and South Shore res­i­dents signed up to take part in the pub­lic arche­ol­ogy pro­gram dur­ing the first week of July that started the month-long ex­plo­ration.

There were more than 60 shifts filled for that week with folks who signed up to come and dig, said Dr. Katie Cot­treau­robins, cu­ra­tor of arche­ol­ogy for the Nova Sco­tia Depart­ment of Com­mu­ni­ties, Cul­ture and Her­itage, in an on­site in­ter­view on July 3.

“They’ve just been go­ing at it and find­ing things. We have some trained arche­ol­o­gists here who are help­ing to guide things along, train­ing them how to use the trowel, how to sift. They are learn­ing the ba­sics and are hav­ing a great time. Some­one said to me, ‘I’m only booked for the morn­ing, but can I stay for the af­ter­noon?’ They kind of get into it and then when they start find­ing things it gets pretty ex­cit­ing.”

Only a few hours into the dig, ar­ti­facts were be­ing found, adding to the en­thu­si­asm of all par­tic­i­pants.

Through­out the month, Cot­treau-robins said she will be joined by Nova Sco­tia Mu­seum staff, col­leagues in arche­ol­ogy and un­der­grad­u­ate and grad­u­ate stu­dents.

“There are arche­ol­o­gists who are work­ing on other projects in the prov­ince that are com­ing down. They want to be a part of this. We have quite a few stu­dents — un­der­grad­u­ate stu­dents who are study­ing his­tory and arche­ol­ogy — they want to learn how to dig and have asked if they could come down,” said Cot­treau-robins. “We also have some stu­dents in grad­u­ate pro­grams (who are) get­ting their PHD or mas­ter’s de­gree and the work here at this site ties into what they want to do. We have staff from Of­fice of Abo­rig­i­nal Af­fairs com­ing next week and mem­bers of Mi’kmaq com­mu­nity.”

She said more than 30 vol­un­teers will be help­ing through­out the month with the dig.

This is year two of the arche­ol­ogy ex­plo­ration of Fort Saint Louis, an early 17th-cen­tury French fur-trad­ing post sit­u­ated in a Mi’kmaq coastal land­scape. Fort Saint Louis was des­ig­nated a na­tional his­toric site by the His­toric Sites and Mon­u­ment Board of Canada in 1931. Last year, more than 2,000 ar­ti­facts were un­earthed.

Cot­treau-robins said peo­ple are wel­come to visit the site and watch the dig progress through­out the month.

“We are de­lighted to have vis­i­tors,” she said.

Also, a spe­cial ex­hibit is on dis­play at the Old Court House Mu­seum in Barrington this sum­mer that tells the story of Fort Saint Louis and con­tains ar­ti­facts found last year. Cot­treau­robins en­cour­ages peo­ple to visit the dis­play. The Barrington Mu­seum Com­plex, op­er­ated by the Cape Sable His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety, are part­ners in the project.

Peo­ple can also track the progress on­line through Instagram on the Nova Sco­tia Mu­seum web­site. Cot­treau-robins said she will be up­dat­ing the Instagram ac­count ev­ery evening with the day’s hap­pen­ings. The web­site ad­dress is: www. mu­­vas­co­ fort-saint-louis-ar­chae­o­log­i­calex­ca­va­tion.

As seen in

Kathy John­son

Dr. Katie Cot­treau-robins, left, talks with some vol­un­teers tak­ing part in the pub­lic arche­ol­ogy pro­gram at the Fort Saint Louis site in Port La Tour. The month-long arche­ol­ogy dig at the site be­gan on July 3.

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