Unearthing prehistory at the Domaine de Maizerets

The City of Quebec is beginning archeological excavations of a certain scale under the barn of the field of Maizerets which should make it possible to unearth artifacts going back to the beginning of the XVth century, before the disembarkation of the Europeans, during the prehistory.
“The construction […] should begin around July 23”, announces a communications consultant, Audrey Perreault. “This large-scale project will be held inside the barn, in the building adjacent to the stone barn.”

Although most of the research will take place indoors, archaeologists will also dig around the buildings in search of vestiges of the occupation of the site by the Iroquoians around 1430. The experts of the City are optimistic because they already have good evidence of the presence of First Nations on these lands. In particular, pieces found during surveys carried out during the 1980s.

Paleohistoric fragments

Audrey Perreault gives details: “Some elements already testify of the frequentation of the site at the time paleohistoric: vestiges of stakes of wood planted on the old building of the river (160 were discovered during the intervention carried out in the Castle Maizerets in 1987); the presence of lithic material (made of stone) is also a strong indication of the Amerindian presence; a piece of Native American pottery (Iroquoian vase rim with decoration) was collected in the perimeter of the stone barn. ”

In the municipal website, it was pointed out that the location of the urban park of the Domaine de Maizerets was quite conducive to the settlement of the First Nations. He was right on the river – before filling to build a highway! – and at the mouth of the Saint-Charles River and a stream. “In addition to offering a breathtaking view of the St. Lawrence River, the location was very favorable for hunting and fishing.”

The contract of more than $ 450,000 awarded to the only bidder, the firm Ethnoscop, also emphasizes that archaeologists must “ensure to verify the presence of elements associated with prehistory and document them”.

“The term paleohistory or prehistory refers to the occupation of the site before the arrival of Europeans, in 1534-1535 [Jacques Cartier] and therefore before the founding of Quebec in 1608”, adds Audrey Perreault. “The period between 1534 and 1608 is perceived as being one of exchanges between the European communities and different Amerindian nations.”

“Excavations this summer are likely to add data that will learn more about these occupations,” she says.

Optimism is needed because the basement of the large barn Maizerets would be intact, note in municipal documents. Unlike other areas of the 27-hectare area that have been brewed over the years by farmers or municipal workers.

“The excavations will complement the data collected so far on the use of the site before the arrival of Europeans and the occupation of a farmhouse in the seventeenth century and the operation of a farm belonging to the Seminar of Quebec from the eighteenth to the twentieth century, “said Audrey Perreault.

Public access

“The heritage building is currently used for storage purposes,” says Perreault. “The stone barn was built in 1755 while the wooden barn dates from the early 20th century.”

Excavations will have to be completed by the end of February. Afterwards, the barn will be transformed into a multifunctional room.

According to the contract concluded with Ethnoscop, “public visits will be organized by the City during the works”.

In addition to the barn, the entire Domaine de Maizerets will remain accessible to the public during excavations, notes Ms. Perreault.

The most interesting finds will be sent to the City’s laboratory and kept in the municipal archaeological reserve containing the collections from previous research.

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