Fort St. Joseph National Historic Site of Canada

What is Archaeology?

Staff at Fort St. Joseph digging.
Staff at Fort St. Joseph digging.
©Parks Canada / Mike Colyer, summer 2002

The study of past human life and culture by the recovery and examination of remaining material evidence such as buildings, tools and pottery.

Archaeologists must record everything they find, draw plans, take photographs and write detailed notes. The artifacts that are found during a dig are clues to life at the site. Their reports interpret the archaeological and historical data. Once an archaeological site is excavated it can never be put back.


Some tools of Archaeology

archaeology tools
Archaeology tools.
©Parks Canada / Mike Colyer, summer 2002
  • brushes
  • twine
  • storage bags
  • rulers
  • dust pan
  • Grapefruit knife
  • line level
  • trowel
  • Root Cutters
  • bucket

Why do we do archaeology at the Fort?

public interaction- digging and finding artefacts
Public interaction- digging and finding artefacts.
©Parks Canada / Mike Colyer, summer 2002

Commemorative Integrity Statement:

“... Fort St. Joseph is a place of national historic significance because it symbolizes the commercial and military alliance that existed between the British and the First Nations People of the western Great Lakes region in the aftermath of the American Revolutionary War through the War of 1812.”


Conservation and Preservation

The bateau was recovered near the site of the canoe dock during a survey of marine archaeological resources at Fort St. Joseph in 1964. The wreck was raised in one piece and immediately placed in a plastic-lined tank and soaked in Carbowax (Polyethylene Glycol) for one week.

display illustration of a bateau manipulated
Display illustration of a bateau manipulated.
©Parks Canada / Barbara Tose and Cliff Cook, summer 2002
 
display board photo of previous treatment and reconstruction
Display board photo of previous treatment and reconstruction.
©Parks Canada


In the summer of 2002, Cliff Cook , Conservator, and Barbara Tose, Senior Conservation Technician (both from Archaeological Services-Conservation with the Ontario Service Centre) came to the site and cleaned the bateau.

Barb cleaning bateau with water.
Barb cleaning bateau with water.
©Parks Canada / Cliff cook, summer 2002
Cliff during condition assessment
Cliff during condition assessment.
©Parks Canada / Barbara Tose, summer 2002
Cliff vacuuming the bateau
Cliff vacuuming the bateau.
©Parks Canada / Barbara Tose, summer 2002