Archaeological heritage

Parks Canada archaeologist at Penouille
© Manon Goyette

Archeological research conducted at Penouille has uncovered artifacts that tell us about the way of life of the people who inhabited the area hundreds, and even thousands, of years ago. The Penouille Peninsula has been a hospitable environment for humans for a very long time.A big whaling station was established on the peninsula in the 1800s. Huge slabs of whale blubber were piled up and then melted in huge pots to extract the oil.

French fishers frequented Penouille during the 17th century and the first half of the 18th century, even establishing one of their first permanent fishing outposts in the Gaspe Peninsula. The French fishers used to arrive in the spring and return to Europe in the fall.

Pointes découvertes à Penouille Arrowheads discovered at Penouille dating to at least the last millennium
© Jean-Yves Pintal

Aboriginal peoples, the area’s first inhabitants, have been regular visitors at Penouille since around 2,000 BP (before present). Archeologists have found points dating to between 1,000 - 500 years BP and 2,150 - 950 years BP, as well as numerous stone flakes: “It is clear that this site was used extensively for working stone. In fact it was a huge tool- making workshop where generations of artisans left dozens, even hundreds, of kilos of stone flakes behind.” Jean Yves Pintal, M.Sc., Archeologist.

The discovery of a large quantity of pottery shards at Penouille (some of which date back to 2,150 - 1,350 years BP, has made this the most important Woodland period pottery site on the Gaspe Peninsula.