The Path to Pointe-aux-Vieux


A flashback to the Archaeological landscape in 2011 at the Acadian homestead site, Pointe-aux-Vieux (1728-1758).
Field crew, volunteers and visitors, from near and far, all followed this path to arrive at the Provincially designated archaeological site and stunning vista at Low Point, Prince Edward Island.


A Brazen Love for The Brae(s)


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My mind often wanders to a little white-washed stone house on a winding road. Its bright red door perpetually welcomes me home. I sit with a good book beside a roaring peat fire drinking tea. The house is in a … Continue reading

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Pinette 2012


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One of our objectives last field season was to complete several archaeological survey and testing projects across the Island. Here are a few snapshots from our work in Pinette. We were hoping to find the site of one of the … Continue reading

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New(ish) Neighbors

…Old Neighbours Now…
So, I blogged about this sweet shout-out in 2010 :S (ah, yes that’s 3 years ago) and just realized my post was set to “private” so no one saw it 😦 . I don’t know about you but I love really old news, so check out my original time-capsuled post here!

Colleen Morgan

I’ve added a few new blog links to my long list, several of which are worth further mention.

Dr. Rosemary Joyce has been busy in the blogging world with What Makes Us Human at Psychology Today and The Berkeley Blog at UC Berkeley and her single author blog, Ancient Bodies, Ancient Lives. I’m ashamed that while I knew about her contributions to The Berkeley Blog, I’ve missed the other two entirely. Ancient Bodies, Ancient Lives is my favorite, with great articles about her teaching and sex and gender in the archaeological record. Rosemary also excels at what I am particularly lax at–answering comments. I can’t believe the patience she had in this particular comment thread about global warming and the archaeological record.

There’s the Diary of an Archaeological Intern, a blog written by Meghan Ferris, an Archaeological Intern with the Aboriginal Affairs Secretariat, Government of Prince Edward Island…

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From the Trenches: PEI Archaeology 2011-2012



Following the establishment of the Provincial Archaeology Office in 2009 and the positive work completed in 2010, the 2011-2012 year has continued to build upon these accomplishments while further establishing the role of Archaeology in the Province of Prince Edward Island.

Field Work 2011- 2012

 2011 was the third and final year of excavations at the early Acadian homestead, Pointe-aux-Vieux. This Officially designated Archaeological site yielded over 14,000 artefacts dating between 1728 and 1758. Post-excavation processing, cataloguing, and research was completed and the historical significance of the site continues to be affirmed. In 2011 a committee was formed to plan a state-of-the-art exhibition showcasing this amazing site.

The completion of the P-A-V excavation in 2011, opened the door for a variety of new, exciting projects in the 2012 field season.


 2012 Field Crew included summer students; Dawne Knockwood and Isaac Stewart from UPEI, Shalen Trask from University of Guelph, and Research Assistant Meghan Ferris. The 2012 Field Season began at the end of May with a small excavation of the Pitawelkek (Hog Island) Shell Midden site.

During July and August the crew worked on a large excavation project at McPherson Site in Orwell Corner. This late 19th Century Scottish site was rich in artefacts, with several thousand recovered in two months. This site drew widespread interest from locals and tourists and has presented exciting possibilities for public archaeology experience, interpretation, and exhibition. The Provincial Archaeology Office hopes to return to the McPherson site in 2013.

 Archaeological Testing and Surveying

 In June 2012, Archaeological testing was conducted in Pinette for signs of an early Acadian settlement. In July surveying and testing was conducted in Grand River for signs of an early Scottish Settlement. In August testing was also conducted in a field in Low Point, near P-A-V, in an attempt to identify the location of an early French windmill. While these areas are rich in history, further survey work and research is necessary to identify the exact location of any archaeological sites. Archaeological research and survey of the Brae successfully identified the area as having high potential for early 19th Century Scottish and Acadian sites. Another area identified as having high archaeological potential is Tryon.

 Research and Data Management

 Archaeological Research continues to support Duty to Consult and is also contributing to a comprehensive view of past, present, and future areas of archaeological and historical importance in this Province. Research supports current archaeological work being done in the Province. Research is also necessary for the identification of areas of archaeological significance. Newly identified and previously known sites are mapped, surveyed, and monitored. In 2011 a new mapping system, MapInfo, was selected to aid in the management and practical application of this information. MapInfo has become an integral tool for tracking, storing, organizing, and sharing Duty to Consult and Archaeological research and data.

 Community Involvement

Starting in Autumn 2011 several volunteers were trained to participate in artefact processing and cataloguing. We also hosted a student volunteer placement as part of the University of Prince Edward Island’s Public History course. Interest in volunteering with us continues to grow, and we are ever so grateful.

Public Archaeology Experience

Over the past three years the site at Pointe-Aux-Vieux had many visitors from near and far. However, the excavation at Orwell Corner this summer saw an unprecedented number of visitors. Never before has Prince Edward Island Archaeology been so visible and accessible to the Public as it was at Orwell. The site was inundated with curious tourists and locals who took great interest in the excavation. Visitors ranged in age from children to seniors. The site’s exposure to visitors prompted the installation of a temporary interpretive table with artefacts and maps set up on the edge of the site to help us educate visitors. The large amount of drop-in volunteers in the 2012 field season has created a demand for a more formal registration and scheduling of volunteers for future field seasons. The location of the excavation, in a Provincial Museum and Heritage site, led to a discovery of another sort – there are many exciting possibilities for successful Archaeological and Heritage collaborative interpretations.

 A number of factors contributed to the popularity of this site. The depression of the house we were excavating was located just off the main path at the entrance to the interpretive centre at a popular PEI Museum and Heritage Foundation site. The excavation also received media coverage which attracted many local visitors and volunteers. The site was particularly popular with tourists who were curious to learn about the history of the Province. Children and students were also very keen to see archaeology in action, and PEI history being unearthed before their eyes.

 Climate Change and Archaeology on PEI

Climate Change continues to be a threat to Archaeological sites in the Province. Our objectives for information-sharing and networking with other concerned parties (Environment, Wildlife, etc) were addressed by attending Climate Change Scenario Modeling workshops and other workshops hosted by the UPEI Centre for Climate Change Research, as well as East Coast Environmental Law conferences. Going forward, the knowledge and contacts gained from these events was helpful, in helping us accurately assess and protect Archaeological sites at risk along our coastlines.

 Presentations/ Publications / Awards

Dr. Helen Kristmanson, Provincial Archaeologist and Meghan Ferris, Research Assistant, both presented on Prince Edward Island Archaeology at the Canadian Archaeological Association annual conference in Halifax in May 2011. Several other archaeologists also presented papers on Prince Edward Island Archaeology including; Scott Buchannan; Pat Allen, on her work in Mount Stewart; Kevin Leonard, on his analysis of Archaeobotanical remains from a mid-18th century Acadian well in Greenwich National Park.

Dr. Helen Kristmanson and Crew were awarded the 2010 Gilbert Buote Award for the Excavations at Pointe-Aux-Vieux. The annual award recognizes outstanding projects in the fields of Acadian history and Prince Edward Island.

The Long Sojourn


Prince Edward Island Archaeology is back on the Blog! We’ve spent the last two years buried in work: cataloguing, researching, writing, field season 2012, followed by more cataloguing, researching, writing. And now that brings us to Field Season 2013. Blogging, like a newly learnt language, was quickly lost to me when I fell out of the habit. The greater the distance grew between me and my last published blog, the more bone-weary I became. Unable to lift listless fingers to the keyboard. My mind grew increasingly restless from lack of online archaeological expression and the guilt of the lost language of blogging hung heavy in my heart. Ideas for blog posts have still been percolating. I, along with the help of a troop of guest bloggers, are ready to take this show back on the road.

This one’s for you dear fieldcrew

It is good, but a little weird, adjusting to office life, after spending 11(?!) weeks in the field. You sort of forget how to sit down in a chair and type on this thing called a “computer.” You get confused by the switch in environments and are left wondering: where is my graph paper? where is my bucket hat? why are there no mosquitos here? how come i am so alone!?”

Well, the grass has grown over the back-filled pit and everyone has gone their separate ways (*cue violins*). I am missing many things about being in the field, mainly my fellow field-crew members (YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE GUYS! this blog is for you)

This year we had a few volunteers (new and seasoned), a lot of visitors, a dog, a bumblee, and one solid field crew consisting of Shalen AKA Shale, Isaac AKA General Danger, Claude AKA ?, and myself AKA Chips, under the supervision of Dr. Kristmanson AKA The Boss.

Not being at PAV anymore there are lots of Things I miss, such as:
the beautiful view of the water, participating in the history of PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND every day, the feel of a cool breeze on a hot day, Bideford bootcamp (improv post-work workouts on red dirt roads), listening to Lady Gaga whilst cataloguing on rainy days at the KGH (King George Hall), carrying around really big guns (arm muscles), the sounds of a certain someone SCREAMING e-v-e-r-y time he found an artifact, uncovering the mysterious “poop” soil, bucket hats, plaid shirts, knives!, those days someone nice (usually someone named Dave or David) would stop by with a treat (H2O, strawberries, popsicles, muffins, etc.) and my dear friend Burt Reynolds whose daily presence at the site initially terrified, and eventually comforted, me.
(*Burt Reynolds the bumblebee, no relation to the actor).

Things I don’t miss: MOSQUITOS FROM MORDOR, weird sunburns, dirt in my eyeballs, the weather extremes (experiencing both freezing AND boiling weather), dehydration, the commute from Charlottetown to Low Point and back every day, the fatigue and exhaustion, thunder & lightning storms trapped at King George Hall, having limited will-power against road-side french-fries and ice-cream, an ear-splitting impersonation of Dolly Parton, SomeONE (ISAAC – I Know what you did last this summer) throwing rocks at me in my general direction while I walked the shore at lunch.

But you know, the funny thing is, I even kind of miss the things I don’t miss.