For 250 years the Acadian village of Beaubassin was hidden under the Tantramar Marsh. Now, the one-time capital of Acadia has been found.

Ben Griffin of the Fort Lawrence Heritage Association says it may be it may be the most important Acadian archaeological site ever discovered.

Historic site in the fight for Canada

He says the village was caught in clash of Canada's two European cultures. Since it was located on the English side of the Missaguash River, the villagers agreed to swear allegiance to England. The French, outraged, ordered the Beaubassin burned to the ground to force the Acadians to their side of the marsh.

"It was where the conquest of North America started; unfortunately where the deportation of the Acadians started," says Griffin.

The exact location of Beaubassin was unknown for more than two centuries, until and aerial photograph was discovered. It points out exactly where the foundations of the homes are located, as well as the church, cemetery and main street.

Ottawa involvement needed

Griffin now hopes the site can be protected and archaeological work begun. He's approached Nova Scotia MP Bill Casey.

"I am very optimistic it will happen," says Casey, "because it is so important and it affects so many different peoples; the aboriginals, the French community, the English community, the soldiers. There's a graveyard here that's already been disturbed by the railway a hundred years ago. We don't want any more disruption to it."

Experts hope the federal government will buy the land and protect it. Only then can the scientific study of the site begin in earnest.