Public dig to take place at the Museum of Industry
In its quest to find out more about the former Albion Mines Foundry, the Nova Scotia Museum of Industry is getting its hands dirty.
Not only is it hosting an archeological dig on its grounds, it is inviting everyone to come help dig in the earth in hopes of uncovering interesting artifacts that will eventually show the layout of the foundry and give some insight into its operations.
The dig will take place Sept. 8 and 9 on the property of the Nova Scotia Museum of Industry.
Iron founding was to the 1820s what electronics is today. It enabled technological advancement and was a key driver of the economy. This makes historic iron foundries significant to understanding the past, said Museum of Industry director Debra McNabb.
“We are pleased to be able to continue to work in partnership with Industrial Heritage Nova Scotia to search for an iron foundry on our site, dating from 1827, said McNabb. “Finding the foundry would provide key evidence to help us understand the extent to which the British Industrial Revolution was replicated in Nova Scotia in the early 1800s.”
She said since the public dig of 2017, the museum has been able to support two sessions of excavation and recording by professional archaeologists.
The foundry site was part of a complex of activities that supported Nova Scotia’s earliest industrial sized coal mines. The foundry made iron items for use on mine engines and equipment and for the homes of miners. Previous digs in that area have uncovered break features, nails and other items made at the foundry, pieces of tools, shards of pottery and clay pipes used by the workers.
“The latest dig, carried out this July, revealed more brick features, and a test pit told us how much overburden lies between the current surface and what may have existed in the 1820s,” she said.
Laura deBoer, lead archaeologist for Industrial Nova Scotia, said this year’s investigations have yielded some new data that takes them a few steps forward in our understanding of the foundry when it was an active, lively worksite.
“We’re seeing more of the interesting vent feature, which may be for air or for water, curving and travelling around through the sand casting floor. We’ve also got a heavy brick feature, and we’ve got a bit of a bet going about whether it’s an internal wall or a machinery base. I’m hoping it’s an internal wall that shows the edge of the casting floor, but we need to open a new test unit to find out. We’ll see if I win my bet.”
Recent archaeological work has revealed a serpentine brick trench, providing another clue to the museum’s search for an 1827 iron foundry.