Archeological dig reveals Abenaki fortress in Quebec

An Abenaki fortress built in 1704 — long buried at the Odanak reserve in Quebec — has recently been unearthed.

Archeological digs continue at Odanak fortress in Centre-du-Québec region

The public is invited to help archaeologists dig for artifacts on the Odanak reserve in Centre-du-Québec. (Radio-Canada)

An Abenaki fortress built in 1704 — long buried at the Odanak reserve in Quebec — was recently unearthed. 

Since then, thousands of artifacts have been found at the Abenaki reserve, and now the public is invited to help with the archeological search.

It’s part of a month of activities planned by Archéo-Québec to celebrate Archeology Month (August). The digging at Odanak is open to the public until Aug. 15.

Odanak, on the St-François river near Pierreville, Que., is believed to have been built under Louis XIV, King of France from 1643 to 1715 .

It was the only fortress in New France built by French military officers and Abenaki, but totally inhabited by an indigenous population.

Its location was completely unknown until recently. It appeared on a map from 1704 but had not yet been found.

What the fortress at Odanak is believed to have looked like. (Radio-Canada)

In 2010, two archeologists affiliated with Laval University set out to find the fortress, embarking on a three-year archeological dig for evidence.

They have unearthed thousands of artifacts so far. However, there is not much left of the fortress, said Abenaki Museum director Michelle Bélanger.

She said they found some remnants of the fortress, 80 by 76 metres large, including some support posts made of wood. That is unlike other fort structures, such as the one at at Chambly, which is made of stone. 

“It confirms that we’ve found a fortress, or perhaps a fortified village,” Bélanger said.

Guide Maxime Gill said many Abenaki who lived in Odanak were burnt and killed by British soldiers around the time of the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, in 1759.

Thousands of artifacts have so far been found at the Abenaki reserve of Odanak in Quebec. (Radio-Canada)