Augustine Mound National Historic Site of Canada

Red Bank Indian Reserve (Metepenagiag), New Brunswick
Augustine Mound National Historic Site of Canada (© Parks Canada / Parcs Canada, 2001)
Exterior photo
(© Parks Canada / Parcs Canada, 2001)
Address : Red Bank, Red Bank Indian Reserve (Metepenagiag), New Brunswick

Recognition Statute: Historic Sites and Monuments Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. H-4)
Designation Date: 1975-11-28

Other Name(s):
  • Augustine Mound  (Designation Name)
  • Metepenagiag Heritage Park  (Other Name)
Research Report Number: June 2001-10, 2007-043


Existing plaque:  Red Bank (Metepenagiag), New Brunswick

Constructed about 2,500 years ago, this circular mound is a rare example in the Maritimes of the elaborate burial tradition associated with the Adena culture, which originated in the Ohio River Valley and then spread throughout eastern North America. The rich archaeological record found here includes well-preserved textiles and basketry, ornaments of Lake Superior native copper, Ohio fireclay pipes, and distinctive Adena-type stone tools. Today, the Augustine Mound remains as an exceptional and enduring expression of spirituality for the Metepenagiag Mi'kmaq Nation.

Description of Historic Place

Augustine Mound National Historic Site is an archaeological site located within the reserve land of the Metepenagiag Mi’kmaq Nation, New Brunswick, on the north side of the Little Southwest Miramichi River across from the present Mi’kmaq community. It includes a circular ritual site surrounding a slightly elevated burial mound that sits on low terrace near the junction of the Northwest and Little Southwest Miramichi Rivers. Augustine Mound National Historic Site of Canada is located 700 metres east of the Oxbow National Historic Site of Canada.

Heritage Value

Augustine Mound was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1975 because this site is an exceptional and enduring expression of Mi’kmaw spirituality, exhibiting burial rituals and artifacts directly connected to Adena traditions in eastern North America 2500 years ago.

The heritage value of Augustine Mound NHSC lies in its longstanding connection to a distinctive religious phenomenon rarely seen in eastern Canada, and in its longstanding connection with spiritual and community life in Mi’kmaq culture as illustrated by its setting, site, form and composition, the nature of the archaeological evidence its mound contains, and in its long term role as a sacred site.

Augustine Mound National Historic Site is a ceremonial burial mound created around 2,500 years ago. It is an eastern manifestation of the Adena burial tradition centred in the Ohio Valley. The site consists of a circular area approximately 30 m. in diameter centred on a low mound, surrounded by a circular ceremonial area. It contains human remains and archaeological artifacts. Originally excavated in 1975-76, only part of the mound remains undisturbed. This is in the form of two perpendicular ridges (baulks) in the form of a cross centred on the mound. Oriented to the cardinal directions, each baulk is approximately 1 metre wide and 10-11 metres long and rises from ground level to a height of 0.5 metre in the centre. The centre portion of the mound was disturbed just prior to the archaeological work. The site retains a spiritual significance and ritual place in the life of the Mi’kmaq community.

Source: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, November 1975; Commemorative Integrity Statement, 2004.

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements contributing to the heritage value of this site include: evidence of its association with a significant burial tradition from the Ohio Valley, including materials from that area placed in the burial mound; the range of rare, perishable artifacts preserved in the mound which relate to Aboriginal culture 2500 years ago; its proximity to Oxbow National Historic Site of Canada; its continued use as a ritual site by the Mi’kmaq people; the mound’s circular footprint and low gradually rising profile; the presence of a longstanding defined ritual area surrounding the mound; the form, extent and material of the baulk cross; the original fabric of the mound’s construction; the temporal, spatial, material, functional and cultural links between evidence removed from the mound and the lowest layers of evidence on the adjacent Oxbow site; the continued relationship of artifacts removed during investigation to the site.