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Dig uncovers evidence of 250-year-old British fort in Nova Scotia


Nova Scotia archaeologists say they may have unearthed fresh evidence of a long-sought-after 18th century British fortress under a lawn in this historic coastal city.

Dig uncovers evidence of 250-year-old British fort in Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia archaeologists say they have unearthed fresh evidence of a long-sought-after 18th century British fort in the 
historic coastal city of Lunenburg [Credit: Saint Mary's University/The Canadian Press]
Halifax professor Henry Cary said historic records set off the hunt for a star-shaped or pentagonal fort that was marked on a 1753 plan of Lunenburg.

“It was one of the first defences built to defend the town in 1753 when the foreign Protestants were landed as part of the British (effort) to create a foothold in Nova Scotia,” Cary, adjunct professor at Saint Mary’s University, said in an interview Monday.

The team credits a geophysical survey that spotted magnetic anomalies under the grass outside the Lunenburg Academy. Teams of continuing education archaeology students started digging over the past weekend based on the survey, and Cary said they uncovered a drain.

“We knew it was in the general area and we had done some geophysical survey of the property in 2013-14 and so we were working off the geophysical anomalies,” said Cary.

“One very minor anomaly turned out to be a nice stone drain . . . a cobblestone drain that runs north-south.”

Dig uncovers evidence of 250-year-old British fort in Nova Scotia
Halifax professor Henry Cary said historic records set off the hunt for a fort that was marked on a 1753 plan of Lunenburg,
 and a geophysical survey spotted magnetic anomalies under the grass outside the Lunenburg Academy, above 
[Credit: Saint Mary's University/The Canadian Press]
The archaeologist said the drain confirms the usefulness of the geophysical surveying method. The technology introduced a magnetic signal into the earth and then used that signal to calculate the variations in magnetic signal.

Cary said the variations detected can help archaeologists spot features like ditches, drains or foundations that are the result of human actions.

“It (the technology) detects minor variations. ...That’s really exciting,” he said of the method, which is used extensively in Europe but less frequently in North America.

He said it’s too soon to say with certainty the drain is part of a fortress structure, but adds it appears to be very similar to other examples from other military sites in Nova Scotia, like the Halifax Citadel or Fort Edward.

The scientist said the process of identifying the site is just beginning. Another dig by continuing education students is scheduled for June 11 and 12.

The Lunenburg Academy is a former school constructed in 1895 and is a national historical site.

Authors: Alison Auld and Michael Tutton | Source: The Canadian Press [May 18, 2016]
TANN

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