Archeological dig at Montreal's pre-Confederation Parliament yields handstamps, charred books
Parliament of the United Province of Canada buried under parking lot in Old Montreal
A dig at the remains of Canada's pre-Confederation Parliament in Old Montreal has yielded thousands of items, including handstamps, charred books, dishes and bowls dating back to the 19th century.
The project began in July at the Pointe-à-Callière archeological and historic site that housed the Parliament of the United Province of Canada between 1844 and 1849, when it was burned to the ground during a riot.
"The results of the 2017 archaeological digs exceeded our expectations, in terms of the number of items found and their nature and historic importance," said Francine Lelièvre, executive director of Pointe-à-Callière, Montreal's history museum.
"These discoveries add to our historical knowledge about this site and the building's layout, and it is essential that it be preserved for future generations."
A handful of the 300,000 unique items found during the digs were unveiled today.
Among the highlights were two copper alloy handstamps bearing the official seals of Parliament, found in an area believed to house the clerk's office.
Other discoveries included fine tableware and tea sets used in the parliamentary restaurant and charred books from the legislative library. Pencils, inkwells and metal pen nibs were also found in the central part of the building.
Free tours were offered this summer at Place d'Youville square in Old Montreal while experts excavated the site.
It housed the legislature for five years until it was a destroyed by the 1849 fire.
The historic site was buried under a parking lot for about 90 years and archeologists started digging up the remains seven years ago.
With files from The Canadian Press