Centuries old graves being dug up near Louisbourg before they’re lost

Date:

Share post:

An unusual archaeological dig is taking place near the Fortress of Louisbourg in Nova Scotia. Anthropology students from the University of New Brunswick are removing the remains from approximately 1,000 coastal graves dating back to the 18th century before they wash into the Atlantic Ocean.

Centuries old graves being dug up near Louisbourg before they're lost
Students from the University of New Brunswick sort through materials gathered from gravesites 
near the Fortress of Louisbourg [Credit: George Mortimer/CBC]

Parks Canada has partnered with UNB on the project. David Ebert, a strategic adviser with Parks Canada, said a number of interesting items have been found since the dig began this week, including a crucifix.

“One of the burials had a number of buttons in it, so you can just imagine the elaborate coat the person would have been wearing when they were laid to rest,” he said.

“The skeleton is a treasure trove of information.”

Ebert said skeletal remains can reveal how old a person was, how tall they were, even where they came from, their diet and whether they were under stress when they died.

Amy Scott, field director of UNB’s department of anthropology, said before the students begin digging they are taught to treat the remains with respect.

Centuries old graves being dug up near Louisbourg before they're lost
UNB anthropology students say they are picking up valuable excavation 
and field techniques on the dig [Credit: Nic Meloney/CBC]

“It’s just a really unique place to be doing this hands-on training,” said Scott, who is heading the dig. “You really can’t ask for anything better.”

Scott said the ancient bones can reveal a lot about the people who lived at the fortress in the 1700s.

“What we’ll be looking at is overall health patterns,” she said. “We will also be looking at elements of trauma, infectious disease, migration patterns, even potentially ancient DNA.”

The remains will be taken to UNB for scientific analysis over the winter. Scott said the findings should be published next year.

Meanwhile, Ebert said Parks Canada is looking for an appropriate spot to rebury the remains “and let them resume the rest they’ve been on for the last 300 years.”

Author: Joan Weeks | Source: CBC News [July 28, 2017]

ADVERTISEMENT

spot_img

Related articles

Amazonian rainforest hides thousands of records of ancient indigenous communities under its forest canopy

The world’s most diverse forest, the Amazon, may host more than 10,000 records of pre-Columbian earthworks (constructed prior...

Complex genetic ancestry of Americans uncovered

By comparing the genes of current-day North and South Americans with African and European populations, an Oxford University...

7,500-year-old footprints found in NW Turkey

Turkish archaeologists discovered 7,500-year-old footprints in the northwestern Bursa province of Turkey. Credit: AA Necmi Karul, an archaeology professor at...

Irish farmer uncovers four gold Bronze Age rings while digging drain

A County Donegal farmer has uncovered a quantity of gold which Ireland’s National Museum believes could be of...

Conservation work begins on medieval Dutch trade ship

Conservation work on a 14th century ship found near Kampen on the river IJssel has started this week...

Stonehenge tunnel dig finds examined by archaeologists

An archaeological evaluation carried out on the route for the A303 Stonehenge tunnel scheme has uncovered "nothing unexpected"....

Mexico returns 37 archaeological pieces to Peru

The Government of Mexico recently returned 37 archaeological pieces to the Peruvian State, the Mexican Culture Ministry has...

1,500 years of settlement history unearthed near Griebo in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany

The Saxony-Anhalt State Office for Monument Preservation and Archaeology, in cooperation with the gas network operator ONTRAS Gastransport...