Canada: Human skull, coffin unearthed in Pointe-Claire Village archaeological dig - PressFrom - Canada
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CanadaHuman skull, coffin unearthed in Pointe-Claire Village archaeological dig

19:05  18 september  2019
19:05  18 september  2019 Source:   montrealgazette.com

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Human skull, coffin unearthed in Pointe-Claire Village archaeological dig © John Mahoney Archeologist Brenden Di Vittori consults with project co-managers Pascale Vaillancourt, left, and Julie Fournier at archeological dig on St-Joachim Ave. in Pointe-Claire Village, on Friday.

A human skull, remnants of a wooden coffin and shards of old pottery are some of the findings an archaeological team has unearthed while conducting a series of digs on the historic Pointe area of the Pointe-Claire Village.

“This is a window to the past,” said one member of the A rchéotec team who was painstakingly digging beneath the surface of St-Joachim Ave., next to St-Joachim Church, for long-lost traces of village life.

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The archaeological work precedes the city’s plans to eventually revamp infrastructure in the area, such as rebuilding sewers, roads and sidewalks which are in dire need of repair.

“The purpose of the research being conducted is to continue the documentation efforts aimed at reconstructing the past through the study of material remains found there, pursuant to the Cultural Heritage Act, the city said on its website. “The heritage site of La Pointe Claire is identified in the Agglomeration of Montreal land use and development plan as an area of ​​archaeological interest.”

The Pointe area of the village dates back to the 1700s. The iconic windmill was built in 1709-10 and the first church appeared in 1713.

Pascale Vaillancourt, one of Archéotec’s project leaders, said a human skull and bones were uncovered while digging in the grassy area behind the church. At one time the plot served as a church cemetery.

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Vaillancourt said they know what existed here centuries ago from consulting old church records. “The parish registries exist which show the cadastres, windmill and the church.”

“Ste-Anne and St. Joachim (avenues) were the roads of the village,” she said. “We have a map from 1866 that shows the church. It was the second church (built here) and was located on what is now Ste-Anne Ave., between the actual church of today and the school ( École Marguerite-Bourgeoys ).”

Some of the foundations of that church still remain beneath Ste-Anne Ave., she noted.

Vaillancourt also found pieces of ceramic bowls that likely would have been used in the preparation of food. Other items, such as animal bones and metal nails, were also found.

“It will all be analyzed this winter, then we will prepare a report for the Ministry of Culture,” Vaillancourt said. “A copy of the report will also be sent to the city of Pointe-Claire. We will make recommendations for the work they want to do. They want to completely rebuild the roads of St. Joachim, Ste-Anne and Demers, up to Lakeshore.”

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“We are for the conservation of a site, but if a city wants to build road infrastructure, we can’t tell them to move to the side. The people who work in heritage must collaborate with urban planners,” Vaillancourt added.

Vaillancourt said it is important to archive their findings to gain a better understanding of the area’s history. “ This was the core of the village and the enclosure of the church helped it to be preserved.”

Tracy McBean, a member of the Pointe-Claire Heritage Preservation Society, said the dig is revealing the rich history of the Pointe-Claire Village.

“There’s a lot to be learned there,” McBean said. “Now that it’s been deemed a historical site by the government, this is another sign that we need to protect our heritage. It’s all part of a big picture. We need to protect our heritage and learn from our history. And there is so much history in the village that people don’t realize. We’re going back over 300 years to one of the oldest settlements on the island.”

“I really think the city needs to step up,” she added. “What is the city’s commitment to heritage? Are you committed to heritage or are you going to keep knocking down buildings?”

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This height is not much greater than the heights of some humans recorded in modern times — see this list at Wikipedia of the world’s tallest people. It’s not impossible that fossil remains of pre-flood humans are among those that have been discovered in the past or that might be found in the future.

The dig is slated to continue till the end of September.

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