First ar­ti­facts on Car­bon­ear Is­land un­earthed

The Compass - - NEWS - BY BUR­TON K. JANES

Af­ter see­ing ac­tion from the late-seven­teenth cen­tury to the twen­ti­eth cen­tury, Car­bon­ear Is­land is fi­nally sur­ren­der­ing its ar­ti­facts.

This sum­mer marks the firstever ar­chae­o­log­i­cal dig on the is­land at the mouth of Car­bon­ear har­bour. Roy Skanes is head­ing up the team.

“ We’d like to find ar­ti­facts from the 1696-97 pe­riod, when D’Iberville came to east­ern New­found­land and tried un­suc­cess­fully to get ashore on Car­bon­ear Is­land,” said Skanes.

The New­found­land cam­paign of Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville (16611707) is re­garded as the cru­elest and most de­struc­tive of his ca­reer.

“ There are lots of mid-eigh­teen­th­cen­tury struc­tures out there,” Skanes added. “ They’re pretty ob­vi­ous.”

Last week, sev­eral dis­cov­er­ies were made.

“I think one is a gun bat­tery em­place­ment from the 1696/ 97 pe­riod,” said Skanes.

“ The other one is an un­known struc­ture,” he con­tin­ued. “ But the ar­ti­facts seem to sug­gest a late­sev­en­teenth­struc­ture.”

Field worker Crys­tal LeDrew un­earthed the first ar­ti­facts. In­cluded in the find are coarse earth­en­ware, tin glaze, bricks, bones and nails in abun­dance.

“ There’s also part of a wine bot­tle, which is typ­i­cally found on ar­chae­o­log­i­cal sites,” Skanes com­mented. “ There are lots of smok­ing pipe stems. Pipes have char­ac­ter­is­tic marks that make them rea­son­ably dat­able.”

The process of dis­cov­ery lengthy and te­dious.

“ This year, we aren’t do­ing de­tailed ex­ca­va­tion at any par­tic­u­lar place,” Skanes ex­plained.

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– Roy Skanes

“ In­stead, we’re test­ing var­i­ous ar­eas by dig­ging 50 cm x 50 cm pits. We bring the ar­ti­facts back, then clean and cat­a­logue them.

“Once we an­a­lyze the ar­ti­facts, we’ll try and de­ter­mine how peo­ple lived, the kind of struc­tures they lived in, whether there were men and women, and how long they stayed there.”

Skanes is as­sisted by field work­ers, Crys­tal LeDrew (Salmon Cove), Ian Hutchings (Car­bon­ear), Linda Saun­ders (Car­bon­ear) and Daniel Clarke (Small Point). Roy Jenk­ins of Car­bon­ear joined the team as a field worker on Aug. 9. Kate LeDrew of Car­bon­ear is the cat­a­loguer.

Ex­ca­va­tion on Car­bon­ear Is­land will con­tinue for two more weeks.

Skanes is ex­cited about the prospect of ad­di­tional dis­cov­er­ies on the is­land.

“ The fu­ture looks very promis­ing,” he said. “ There’s even the like­li­hood of abo­rig­i­nal ma­te­rial there.”

In­cluded among the ar­ti­facts un­earthed on Car­bon­ear Is­land last week are nu­mer­ous smok­ing pipe stems and nails.

Some of the first ar­ti­facts un­earthed on Car­bon­ear Is­land last week by field worker Crys­tal LeDrew.

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