Digging history

STELLARTON — Some Pictou County residents got to live out childhood dreams of being an archaeologist and digging up history on Saturday as the Museum of Industry hosted an archaeological dig at the site of the old foundry that once stood beside the current Albion Trail beside the museum.

The project was the second dig in recent years that has taken place at the location, although 20 years or more ago there had been digs in the same area. The archaeologist who had worked on the site 20 years ago had not only kept detailed notes but had preserved the dig sites using plastic sheets placed on them.

“The plastic and all her notes and everything has helped us continue more than 20 years later,” said Laura de Boer, lead archaeologist and permit holder for the dig.

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During Saturday’s event, the public was invited to help uncover some of Pictou County’s past. There were two small dig sites for children as well as an advanced one for adults that already has an exposed brick vent structure. During the dig, they were hoping to uncover more brick parts of the former building’s structure as well as any iron bits that might help them figure out more about what happened at the site.

Micah Woods, 7, and Maya Woods, 9, right, try their hand at archaeology Saturday morning at the Museum of Industry in Stellarton. (Brimicombe photo)

“As archaeologists, we’re really passionate about what we do,” said de Boer. She added that she enjoys getting to see the public help out and get a taste of what she enjoys doing.

“We get a lot of people, when we say we’re archaeologists, say ‘Oh I always wanted to do that!‘“ de Boer said. She enjoys giving them the chance to see what that would have been like for them to be able to be an archaeologist. It also gives the public a chance to get a sense of how meticulous being an archaeologist can be.

De Boer added that any help they can get is also much appreciated as archaeology is really underfunded in Nova Scotia.

“The past is not just something in books,” de Boer said.


Some of the adults at the archaeological dig worked on a more advanced site Saturday morning. (Brimicombe photo)

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Heather Brimicombe
Heather Brimicombe is a Pictou County native and graduate from the University of King's College in Halifax with a Bachelor of Journalism Honours degree as well as a combined major in Sustainability. She has previously won a Canadian Communities Newspapers award for a multimedia feature and was part of a team nominated for a Canadian Association of Journalism data award in the investigative category. Photography, art, sports and outdoor activities are all hobbies of hers as well as crafting, and baking.