Archaeological Surveys Two Black Communities, 1998 Surveying Tracadie Area Testing in Birchtown (Curatorial Report #92)


  • Stephen Powell


Excavations, Archaeology, Birchtown, Black Loyalists, Antigonish County, Shelburne County, Antiquities


Birchtown, Nova Scotia, was founded by Black Loyalists in 1783 and was the largest and most significant settlement of free Blacks in North America. Although its population grew rapidly, Birchtown did not thrive. The discrimination and inequity the Black Loyalists had hoped to escape followed them to Nova Scotia. In 1791 their discontent led half of Birchtown's population to join the exodus for Sierra Leone in West Africa, an event from which the settlement would never recover.

The archaeological study of the Birchtown area began in 1993 and has continued every year since that time. The objectives of the 1998 project were three-fold: the excavation of AkDi-23, thought to be the home of Stephen Blucke; formal testing of AkDi-6 to confirm that it dated to the eighteenth century; and, the bisection of an enigmatic rock mound, one of a series of 22, at AkDi-21. The latter two projects are the subject of this report.

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