The Acadian Archives acadiennes of the University of Maine at Fort Kent will host a presentation by Ghislain Savoie on the 2004-2005 archaeological digs that he coordinated in Belleisle in the Port Royal Colony. The presentation will be held on Thursday, February 6 at 7 p.m. in the Nadeau Hall Teleconference Room. The event is free and open to the public.
Mr. Savoie will explain what prompted him and his brother to get involved; what was discovered as a result of these excavations; and what new facts were learned about life in old Acadie, their livelihood, their standard of living, their technology, their trading patterns, and partners, to name a few.
Belleisle was the largest village in the colony of Port Royal, in old Acadie. More than 200 Acadian families have lived there since before the 1755 deportation. Almost fifty years ago, during the 1960s, several sites of old Acadian homes and, later, other sites like the location of a windmill, also were identified. All of the structures had been burned to the ground during the 1755 expulsion.
In 1983, some twenty years after its discovery, the Museum of Nova Scotia undertook the archaeological excavation of two of the homes in Belleisle. Since then, no other excavations had been undertaken. Some of the sites that were discovered in the 1960s now have disappeared as a result of human activities, including farming, home and road construction and wetland conservation initiatives. The sites also are exposed to “treasure seekers” and “amateur archaeologists”.
In 2004, two descendants of Acadian settlers in Belleisle – - Ghislain Savoie and his brother Jean-Claude, a businessman from St. Quentin, New Brunswick – - decided that it was high time to resume professional archaeological excavations in Belleisle before more damage was done. They commissioned Dr. Marc Lavoie, professor of archaeology and history at Saint Anne University in Nova Scotia, who had participated in the 1983 excavation, to lead a team of a dozen students and archaeologists to excavated new sites in Belleisle in 2004 and 2005.
For more information on the presentation, please contact Lise Pelletier, Acadian Archives director, at (207) 834-7536.