Today marks our fifth week in Port Joli, and we are now nearing the end of the excavation. The AlDf-24 site has proven far more complex than we had originally believed it would be. In Area A, we have completed the excavation of all units to sterile subsoil (below the first cultural deposits at the site), and all that is left to do is backfill the units.
The Area A Midden contains abundant and diverse fauna from at least 25 species of shell fish, birds, mammals, and fish (and likely many more – these are species we can identify without the aid of our references collection in Ottawa). These animal bones can be used to reconstruct ancient diets, hunting strategies, and seasonal mobility. The bones contain critical information which can be used to reconstruct the ancient coastal ecosystem (both terrestrial and marine components).
In Area C, the last units associated with the house floors discovered in that area are being excavated. This has been a fascinating and complex deposit, likely composed of multiple alternating living floors from wigwam-like structures and a large associated midden. The diversity of stone tools recovered from Area C is truly stunning, and this collection will provide significant information about stone tool technology on the South Shore of Nova Scotia.
The public archaeology program wrapped up this week, and I consider it to have been a real success. We met with hundreds of people during our time in Port Joli, including nearly two hundred who visited the excavation site alone. A highlight of the public archaeology was the time spent with members from Acadia First Nation. We were honored to be invited to their Cultural Day on July 4th, where we had the opportunity to discuss the project with over 100 community members.
This week we will spend our time finishing the last of the open units and drawing the last profiles (wall sections) of the units. Then, the site will be backfilled and the sods replaced, to return it to its original condition. It will be a busy week, but it comes at the end of a summer filled with some truly fascinating and unexpected archaeology done in full view of the public.