Welcome back to the E’se’get Archaeology Project blog! It has been almost two years to the day since the start of our last field season. We’ve learned a lot over this time, and this year we’re back to finish all the things we didn’t get to in the previous three seasons of work. In fact, this season is critical because we are hoping to fill gaps in the developing archaeological sequence for the harbour.
Much of our effort will be aimed at the excavation of a Middle Maritime Woodland (ca. 1450 B.P.) dwelling floor to complement the Late Maritime Woodland (ca. 650 B.P.) floor we excavated in 2010. We’ll also gather samples from at least four additional sites, two of which we have never tested before. Here our aim will be to collect animal bone and artifact samples from the latest sites in the harbour, which appear to be concentrated near its head.
I’m very excited about a methodological initiative we are undertaking. This year our dig will be completely paperless – we will be recording all of the information from the excavations using iPads. This has been a dream of mine ever since I began the mind-numbing task of transcribing hand written data to a computer as a volunteer nearly 20 years ago. I have bided my time, and now relatively low cost tablet computers have finally made digital recording methods feasible and cost effective. The Canadian Museum of Civilization has kindly loaned the project six iPads, and I owe the Computer Services Group many thanks for making this happen (I promise to bring them back in good condition!). I’ll document the entire methodology and process on this blog, so if you have had similar thoughts of going paperless please subscribe and let me know your thoughts.
I have an excellent handpicked crew lined up for the summer. Martin “Gabe” Hrynick will be back to collaborate on the excavation of a dwelling feature, which he will incorporate into his doctoral thesis at the University of Connecticut. Natalie Jess, who recently graduated from St. Mary’s University, is coming for her second season, and I hope to put her excellent photography skills to the test. Jessie Webb, a graduate student at the University of New Brunswick, will also join us, bringing his considerable excavation experience to the project. Dr. Konrad Gajewski, a professor at the University of Ottawa, aided by his graduate student, Karen Neil, will come for two weeks to study past climate change, sea level rise, and hurricane activity in Port Joli. These data will provide an invaluable comparison to the record of human activity we are developing for the region.
Finally, our collaboration with Acadia First Nation will continue this year. We have three “archaeology days” planned, where band members from various regions will come and visit the sites and see what we’ve excavated. I will also be giving a public lecture for local residents at the Queen’s County Museum on the 21st of July (please visit their website for details http://www.queenscountymuseum.com/), and a site tour for the Mersey River Heritage Society on the 14th of July. Although the sites won’t be open to the general public this year, I will also give a lecture about my work in Thomas Raddall Provincial Park.
I’m hopeful for great things this summer, all of which will be documented on this blog. As well, a colleague of mine from the Canadian Museum of Civilization, Dr. Terence Clark, may post here from time to time. He is conducting a very exciting project in British Columbia, near Sechelt, and his posts will provide an excellent West versus East Coast shell midden archaeology comparison.