2010 annual report of the Beaubassin and Fort Lawrence Public Archaeology Experience

The last four years have been rich in discoveries at the Beaubassin and Fort Lawrence National Historic Sites of Canada.  The uncovered artifacts have given us a lot of information about the way of life of the Acadians and British people of the region. Within the next pages, we will first review the goals of the public archaeology program while describing the context that allowed its creation. Afterwards, we will present some of the major findings of the year and propose some basic hypothesis regarding those findings.

Origin and goals of the Beaubassin and Fort Lawrence Public Archaeology Experience

In 2004, 137 acres of land, formerly part of the historic Acadian village of Beaubassin from 1672 to 1750, were acquired by Parks Canada and protected the following year as a National Historic Site of Canada.  Thanks to that initiative, the Beaubassin and Fort-Lawrence public archaeology program was created in 2007. This project is part of a management plan which aims to promote the development of the national historic sites of the Chignecto area.  The main objective for the Beaubassin and Fort Lawrence National Historic Sites is to heighten public awareness of the archaeological value and historical importance of the sites.

To do so, Parks Canada chose to organize archaeological digs in which the public is invited to participate.  The scientific objectives for the Beaubassin and Fort Lawrence archaeological project are to protect and preserve the cultural resources and elements of natural significance, to identify the gaps in knowledge to the Acadian way of life at Beaubassin between the 1670s and the 1750s and to understand the history, settlement and use of the site and the people that lived and worked there. Specifically, through the provenience of the archaeological findings, we are informed about the trades and exchanges between Beaubassin, New England, Quebec and Louisbourg. We have evidence on the site of the reoccupation of the area by the British until 1756.

Since 2007, more than 500 participants contributed to the archaeological excavations at the Beaubassin and Fort Lawrence National Historic Sites.  During this fourth year, 138 participants became archaeologists for a day.

Findings of the year

During the 16 days of the public program this year, 30 pins were found in the sub-operation 7B17C.  (To know where you worked, please refer to the participant list available at the end of this document.) This impressive number, added to the approximately 40 pins that were found in 2009 in sub-operation 7B17E (located 3 meters south of 7B17C), presents us with an exceptional quantity and concentration of pins.

This allows us to suggest that the area was dedicated to some textile activity back in those days. Furthermore, other findings made in Beaubassin, like bale seals, needles and a tickle fragment, tell us that Beaubassin had important textile activities.


In the last week of excavations, interesting features were unearthed in sub-operation 7B17N.  A stone feature located in a depression in the ground, combined with traces of fire damage, appear to be evidence of the construction and the destruction of a building.  Following the discovery of several British artefacts related to the stone feature, we could hypothetically suggest that this building may have been related to the village part of the fort Lawrence installations.  The depression could also represent a house cellar.  From the moment this particular sub-operation was first excavated, the soil covering the stone feature has presented a distinctly different shade when compared to what was found elsewhere in the sub-operation. This difference could be the result of the filling of the cellars that occurred in the 1940’s.

We were unsuccessful in our attempt to unearth an angle of a foundation wall in sub-operations 7B16F and 7B12V.  However, even though stone remains were not found in 7B16F, traces of the builder’s trench were discovered.

Several blacksmithing byproducts, commonly called slag, were discovered in sub-operation 7B12V.  Similar artifacts were also found in large numbers, in 2007, in sub-operation 7B12W, located directly south of 7B12V.  Such a dense concentration of slag remains may allow us to suggest that either the Beaubassin or Fort Lawrence smithy could have been located there.

In sub-operation 7B12F, an extension of the stone feature from 7B12M and 7B12S was found.  Numerous clues, such as a disturbance in the soils and the presence of a particular clay type unique to this portion of the site, leads us to believe that we may have found one of the sub-operations that were excavated by archaeologist Pierre Nadon in 1968.  Thanks to this discovery, we hope to be able to locate with precision the previously excavated portions of the site.

The Beaubassin and Fort Lawrence Public Archaeology Experience project brings new findings every year. The team members would like to thank you all for your enthusiast participation. Hope to see you next year!

Participant list

Date Participant names Sub-operation excavated

July 22nd, 2010

Fay Deviller 7B12F
Robert Deviller 7B12F
Véronique Deniger 7B12B
Martine Deniger 7B12B
Lauren Cudmore 7B17C
Cynthia Cudmore 7B17C
John Cudmore 7B17C
Heather Wilkie 7B16F
Ron Robinson 7B12V
Amanda McInnis 7B16F
Dylan White 7B12V

July 23rd, 2010

John Cudmore 7B17C
Lauren Cudmore 7B17C
Cynthia Cudmore 7B17C
Véronique Deniger 7B12B
Martine Deniger 7B12B
Ann G. Forcier 7B17H
Glenn A. Forcier 7B17H
Monie Vautour 7B17H
George (Skip) Wallin, (with Diane Leger) 7B16F
Susan Funke 7B12V
Megan Funke 7B12V
Amy Funke 7B12V
Tonia Tunnacliff 7B16F
Alisha Engler 7B16F

July 24th, 2010

John Cudmore 7B17C
Cynthia Cudmore 7B17C
Lauren Cudmore 7B17C
Anne Godin 7B12V
Claire LeBlanc 7B12V
Sydney Reimer 7B12S
Gilles Bourgeois 7B17H
Lewis Leblanc 7B17H
Pierre Leblanc 7B17H
Andrée Charron 7B17H
Donna Mitchell 7B16F
Lana MacEachern 7B16F

July 25th, 2010

John Cudmore 7B17C
Cynthia Cudmore 7B17C
Lauren Cudmore 7B17C
Sydney Reimer 7B12S
Paul Richard 7B12V
Lise Richard 7B12V
Alexandre Clermont 7B12V

July 29th, 2010

Ray Dixon 7B17N
Ethel Douglas 7B17N
Gordon Hébert 7B17N
Jean Leblanc 7B16F
Carly Levy 7B16F

July 30th, 2010

Andy Robinson 7B17H
Nicole Robinson 7B17H
Bruce Sears 7B17N
Linda Sears 7B17N
Wayne McLeod 7B16F
Gary Campbell 7B12B
Karly Denton 7B16F
Richard (Dick) Denton 7B16F
Sheila MacLeod 7B12B
Gordon Beanlands 7B12F
Hope Beanlands 7B12F
Debbie Taylor 7B17N

July 31st, 2010

Louise Savoie 7B16F
Debbie Taylor 7B17N
Edna Bosse 7B12F
Gordon Beanlands 7B12F
Hope Beanlands 7B12F
Fransisco Reyes 7B17N
Isadora Romero 7B17N
Brian Harding 7B16F

August 1st, 2010

Jason Clements 7B12V
Ricky Arsenault 7B17N
David Arsenault 7B17N
Dawn Estabrooks 7B12V
Travis Faulkner 7B12V

August 5th, 2010

Annette Ervin 7B16F
Don Ervin 7B16F
Roger Hébert 7B12B
Lisa Strong-MacDougall 7B12V
Laverne Lent 7B12V
Maurice Robichaud 7B17N
Paul Albert 7B17N
Ellen Pearson 7B16F
Karen Doak 7B12F
Deb Kay 7B12F
Jacques Albert 7B17N
Rod Matheson
Raoul Leblanc 7B12H
Madison Hicks 7B12V

August 6th, 2010

Marilyn Williams 7B16F
Donald Tabor 7B16F
Wayne J. Lines 7B12V
Lynne O’Brien-Lines 7B12V

August 7th, 2010

Bernard Cormier 7B16F
Ericka Caissie 7B16F
Cindy Perrin 7B12V
Cheryl Patriquin 7B12V
Janice Cormier 7B16F
Eva Leither 7B12V

August 8th, 2010

François Thériault 7B17N
Josée Thériault 7B16F
Élise Thériault 7B12V
Debra Thériault 7B17N
Denise Dionne 7B12V
Christian Godbout 7B16F
Zacharie Godbout 7B16F

August 12th, 2010

Holly MacDonald 7B16F
Paul Arsenault 7B12B
Mike Charles 7B12V
Paul Bogaard 7B16F
Mary Bogaard 7B12V
Amy Bogaard 7B12V
Madison Hicks 7B16F
Oscar Duguay 7B17N
Jean Ladouceur 7B17N
William Murray 7B17N
Chantal Noël-Losier 7B12F
Vicky Daley 7B12F

August 13th, 2010

Don Godin 7B12B
Lindsay Titus 7B16F
Denise Titus 7B16F
Martin Hubley 7B17N
Isabelle Nault 7B17N
Edward Burley 7B17N
Jack Stone 7B12F
Katie Cassie-Stone 7B12F
Christine Dupuis 7B12V
Tristian Gaudet 7B12V

August 14th, 2010

Kathy Drew 7B12V
Jenny Drew 7B12V
Carmen Bernard 7B16F
Gabriel Gallant 7B17N
Tania Carrier 7B17N
Janice Johnson Wolchuk 7B12F, 7B16F
Trudy Johnson 7B12F, 7B16F

August 15th, 2010

Susan McIsaac 7B16F
Susan Colquhoun 7B17N, 7B16F
Heather Ackles 7B17N, 7B16F

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