Looters may have plundered national historic site
A Parks Canada archeologist is pleading with looters to return any artifacts that may have been stolen from the site of a former Acadian village.
Charles Burke said when his team of archeologists arrived at the Beaubassin National Historic Site on the border between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia in July, they quickly discovered that people were illegally digging in the area.
A few days later, Burke said, he found two people in the area with metal detectors and shovels.
Now the RCMP are involved as they try to recover valuable artifacts that may have been taken from the area.
Burke said the team is trying to use the artifacts to unravel the story of how the Acadians lived in the area prior to the 1755 deportation.
"The major problem is that we don't know what is taken away. What is taken away could be of great importance for the interpretation of the site," he said.
Artifacts still being discovered
Despite the potential thefts, Burke said the site is still turning up many historical artifacts.
For instance, this summer, a coin from 1749 was found in the same layer of soil as an aboriginal clay smoking pipe.
Burke said it's evidence that the Míkmaq lived with the Acadians at the site before the deportation.
That proof could have been lost had someone taken the coin.
Burke said people have to understand that selling artifacts on websites such as eBay is short-sighted.
"I know what they're worth to the people of Canada. I know what they're worth when we put them in an exhibit at the Acadian museum in Moncton. I know how people respond to them and what they feel about them, but monetarily I couldn't tell you," he said.
A spokesperson with the RCMP's Cumberland detachment said the goal is to have any artifacts that were taken returned.