First artifacts on Carbonear Island unearthed
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.
– 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.