Montreal, Older Than You Think
There’s an interesting piece in the Gazette this morning on some archaeological finds located in a nondescript warehouse on Place d’Youville. Archeologists from the Université de Montréal and the Pointe à Callière museum have been digging on the 400-square-metre site since 2002.
They have found such treasures as aboriginal arrowheads made of European copper and stone, 17th-century French pottery and animal bones. The 40,000 artifacts catalogued each year reveal some of the networks and habits shared by those who lived around the settlement of Ville Marie. Last year, excavators began to uncover what they believe to be the oldest stonework in the city and, unexpectedly, a blast furnace used to extract iron from ore about 2.5 metres below the floor of the building. The little fort, established by a French religious society in 1642, was the first permanent European settlement on Montreal Island.
In addition, glass beads uncovered at the same depth as the walls predate the fort by at least a decade. The beads were made in France and brought to North America by seasonal traders who might have set up an outpost on the same site as Ville Marie.
For more details, check the article on page A8 of the Gazette.