On May 28th, 2012, we kicked off our field season with a week-long excavation of a shell midden site on Hog Island, also known as George’s Island and by its traditional Mi’kmaq name of Pitawelkek. If you’ve ever spent any amount of time there, you’ll no doubt understand why I would also refer to it as “Mosquito Mordor”. The mosquitoes that call Hog Island home are positively vicious little bloodsuckers, and if the conditions are just right, you can actually hear them coming before you see them. But we aren’t here to discuss these horrid buggers.
Hog Island is one of several islands in Malpeque Bay, and the location of much aboriginal activity both pre- and post-contact. (click image above to enlarge).
The Pitawelkek shell midden site is part of the Malpeque Bay Archaeological Project, conducted under the direction of Provincial Archaeologist, Helen Kristmanson in partnership with the Mi’Kmaq Confederacy of PEI. While previous years involved extensive site reconaissance and preliminary testing, last year witnessed the first formal excavation. The midden (essentially a dump site) was culturally rich in artefacts. Even though inclement weather limited us to just three days of excavation, we managed to work our way through a 2m x 2m area thanks to intensive troweling and the shallow nature of the midden. The artefacts recovered are currently being catalogued, and include a LOT of shell, as well as faunal remains, points, and ceramics.
All in all, it was a successful dig, and hopefully we will be returning to the island at some point to continue our work. But in the meantime, here are some photos to tide you over.
P.S. – I told you my next post wouldn’t be as long.