New Brunswick

Louisiana archaeologists hunt for Acadian burial sites

Archaeologists in Louisiana are on the hunt for lost burial sites of the first Acadians who arrived in the state in 1765.

New Acadia Project is looking for unmarked burial sites of at least 34 people

Archaeologists with the New Acadia Project are on the hunt for lost burial sites of the first Acadians who arrived in Louisiana in 1765. (New Acadia Project)

Archaeologists in Louisiana are on the hunt for lost burial sites of the first Acadians who arrived in the state in 1765.

The New Acadia Project is looking for unmarked burial sites of at least thirty-four people, including Joseph Broussard Beausoleil, the person credited with leading the Acadians to Louisiana.

Mark Rees, the principal investigator of the project, said the researchers are hoping to find the first Acadian camp.

But Rees said the archaeologists have no intention to remove the bodies from their grave sites.

“We're not interested in exhuming bodies. We're interested in finding these places,” Rees said.

“We could use excavation techniques to confirm whether there is a burial and date the burial without exhuming the body, without exhuming the bones.”

Rees and his fellow researchers have located three possible locations for the 250-year-old graves.

But he said it is a slow process to confirm the sites.

Once the first Acadians' final resting spot and their first camp are found. Rees said he would like to see the place marked.

“Maybe people from New Brunswick would like to come down and drive along the Bayou Teche and visit places that have markers where people settled in 1765,” he said.

Some New Brunswickers say they would like to see the site once it is found.

Claude Boudreau, the director at the Monument-Lefebvre National Historic in Memramcook, said those camps and burial sites are important places in the history of Acadia.

“It’s almost like a place of pilgrimage for local people but also for Acadians from around the world, like for Acadians from New Brunswick and Nova Scotia when we go down to Louisiana we want to see these sites,” he said.

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