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Archeology dig begins in Port La Tour: Visitors welcome to visit site and see project participants at work


PORT LA TOUR N.S. – The archaeology 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 over 60 shifts filled for that week with folks who signed up to come and dig, said Dr. Katie Cottreau-Robins, 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. Cottreau-Robins encourages people to visit the display. The Barrington Museum Complex, operated by the Cape Sable Historical Society, is a partner 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. Find out more on the Museum's Fort Saint-Louis Archaeological Excavation page. 

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