Nova Scotia

Dig uncovers evidence of 250-year-old British fort

An archaeological excavation in Lunenburg has uncovered new evidence that points to the presence of a 250-year-old fort at the site of the Lunenburg Academy.

Stones discovered at Lunenburg Academy may be part of star-shaped fort from 1753

SMU Continuing Education students dig outside the Lunenburg Academy (Stephanie vanKampen/CBC News)

An archeological excavation in Nova Scotia's Lunenburg has uncovered new evidence that points to the presence of a 250-year-old fort at the site of the Lunenburg Academy

About a dozen adult students taking part in a continuing education class at Saint Mary's University spent the weekend learning the basics of archeology and searching for the remains of a British star-shaped fort from 1753. 

"You really don't know what's there until you start digging," said Henry Cary, an adjunct professor at Saint Mary's University. 

Possible remnants

The remnants of what might be part of a British fortress built in 1753 (Stephanie vanKampen/CBC News)

It didn't take long for the team to uncover just what they thought they might find.

Cary said researchers found evidence of a British fort — previously only known about through historical records — through a geophysical survey.

The survey measures magnetism of the soil and picked up possible remnants of a structure. 

This weekend, the team uncovered two lines of stones, which look like they at one time supported a fence post or palisade. 

Preliminary, but exciting

"It's still pretty preliminary but it's really exciting," said Cary. "To understand that there's more here than just the academy." 

Cary said the find confirms what was discovered in the geophysical survey. 

"It's fantastic," said Cary. "It's really is the culmination of research that I was part of since 2012 and it's all basically come down to this."

The team will now try to confirm the dates on the stone feature, and a new batch of students will continue the work at the site in June.


Stephanie vanKampen


Stephanie vanKampen is a videojournalist with the CBC News in Prince Edward Island. Send story ideas to stephanie.vankampen