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Transcript for Archaeological Dig on PEI – Greenwich, Prince Edward Island National Park

[Standard Parks Canada intro]

[Scene of dig site with archaeology equipment. A small boy and woman are bent over a screen sifting dirt]

Text: Greenwich Archaelogical Field School Stories are found in the very earth of Greenwich.

[Camera pans to view of St. Peter's Bay]

The area around St. Peter's Bay has been a place of continuous human habitation for more than 10,000 years, beginning with Paleo Indian, followed by the Mi'kmaq people and then later by Acadian and British settlers.

[Three people walk down the Greenwich trail dressed in tradition Acadian clothing. The Greenwich trail head is shown]

Today the land is uninhabited, protected within Prince Edward Island National Park.

[Close up of artefact, a Parks Canada employee shows the artefact to a visitor, the camera then pans out to show group of people working by the dig site]

But the rich cultural heritage of its previous inhabitants is still preserved within its soil.

[Long shot of St. Peter's Bay, camera then pans into the archaeological dig site]

In June 2008, an archaeology field school was established along Greenwich's Tlaqatik Trail.

[People working at dig site]

Run jointly by Parks Canada and the University of Prince Edward Island, the dig's aim was to find artefacts that will help shed light on Acadian families who lived in the area during the mid-1700s.

[Rob Ferguson helps another person dig at the site]

Rob Ferguson is the Parks Canada archaeologist leading the dig.

He explains that this isn't the first time joint archaeological digs have been conducted on the Greenwich peninsula.

[Rob speaks while volunteers dig in the background]

Rob: The first interest came as a result of Rolly Jones and Jeannette Jones who are private collectors and had found some unusual looking stone points at what's now call the Jones site.

They brought it to the direction of Dr. David Keenleyside at the Canadian Museum of Civilization and he immediately recognized that these were quite early points, possibly dating from as much as 10,000 years ago.

David Keenleyside came here in 1983 and ran a field school with Anna Sovitsky from the University of PEI and did some excavations on the site and found some more evidence of that site.

[Camera pans out to show dig site during testing, before the field school was established]

To begin this year's dig, a combination of historical documents, remote sensing technology and shovel tests are used to pin-point several places along the coast thought to be locations of original Acadian homesteads.

[Group works in dirt. Close up of transects selected for dig site. Close up of two volunteers using spades to dig]

Once several promising sites are located, members of the field school rope off a few 'pits' and begin the slow, careful process of excavating and documenting any artefacts that they find.

[Janette sits near a larger pit with archaeology tools in it. Other volunteers work next to the pit]

Janette Gallant is working on one of the bigger excavation pits, and explains why they chose this particular location.

This is a cellar site here, from an Acadian family, from the Oudy family.

So there were probably 9 Acadian families who lived in this area and they were all Oudys.

Back in 2000, Parks Canada did a test pit right in this area through here and they hit a cellar.

So we're back here in 2008 to excavate a little bit more.

[Close up shot of people digging, scraping and brushing in a pit]

Those who work on the dig are required to spend hours digging, scraping, brushing, and sifting the red PEI dirt in order to find these Acadian artefacts – as well as artefacts from other eras.

[Janette walks to a suspended screen with a bucket of dirt. She begins to sift the dirt, and then searches through the remnants, picking out rocks] [Pause]

It's not always an easy job.

[Four students sit on the ground in front of St. Peter's Bay]

No Audio - Pause For these UPEI students participating in their first dig, their tasks vary each day Student 1: If we're just digging in a normal excavation, then we'll be doing stuff like that, trowelling surfaces down and trying to, you know, uncover some artefacts from different soils.

But on other days we'll do shovel tests, where instead of doing a larger excavation, we'll do a smaller, usually 30 cm square and then just go down. It's faster.

Student 2: We did a lot of that, this group Student 3: A lot of shifting through dirt, looking for small pieces, that's always fun.

Student 1: Pretty much we scrape dirt. Gardeners, historic gardeners

[Volunteer puts an artefact into a labelled plastic baggie]

Once artefacts are extracted from the ground, they are bagged and recorded in a log.

[Rob Ferguson in a laboratory. Outside of Greenwich interpretation Centre}

Then they are taken to the lab at the Greenwich Interpretation Centre, where they will be cleaned further and put in cases.

[People work in the lab, cleaning artefacts]

At the end of the dig they will be sent to Halifax for further analysis.

The dig yields some amazing discoveries in terms of Acadian artefacts.

[Porcelain is shown]

We do get Chinese porcelain on Acadian sites, but typically they are the very common little tea bowls.

[Pig skull fragments are shown]

These are all fragments of a pig skull that were found in what looks like a garbage dump area.

[Piece of a wine bottle neck laying in a case is shown]

Wine bottle necks can be very useful because we can date the period that they were made by the manufacturing style.

[Stone tools are shown]

We've found, also, three native-worked stone tools.

[More artefacts are shown]

These artefacts reveal many clues about the daily life of Acadians who lived along the shores of St. Peters Bay.

[View of St. Peter's bay]

They will help Parks Canada put together a more complete picture of their history.

[Rob stands in front of dig site where volunteers are working]

Rob: We're finding, I think, with all of the archaeology that's being done in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and PEI that there is a greater complexity to Acadian culture,

[Parks Canada employees dressed in Acadian clothing talk with a group of visitors]

which we should expect anyway, once you delve into the actual material culture and remains of the people.

This archaeological dig has helped bring to life the history of this landscape.

The rich cultural heritage lives on today in the island's vibrant Acadian community.

[View of Havre St. Pierre trail]

And while the field school focused on the Acadian era, continued archaeological research will give a voice to the many civilizations who called Greenwich home for thousands of years.

[View of archaeological equipment]

[Standard Parks Canada outro]

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