Melanson: a large Micmac village in Kings County, Nova Scotia

Frances L. Stewart


The Melanson Site (BgDb-7) is a Ceramic Age village on the Gaspereau River in Kings County, Nova Scotia. While known to collectors and archaeologists for some time, the site remained an unknown entity, curiously large in size and unconnected to the arrival of the Acadians. The Melanson project was initiated in 1985 and involved excavations in 1986 on the western end of the site. The project sought to define the economic base of the village and to comprehend its patterns of growth.


Ecological examination of the Gaspereau catchment area plus the recovery of a good floral sample and small faunal sample indicate primary reliance on the spring fish runs coupled with a variety of secondary economic pursuits. Analysis of the material culture reveals a typically Micmac occupation spanning the last 2000 years. During this time, the Middle and Late ceramic Periods, the village apparently expanded upriver and grew in size, the operative social group likely being a composite band. Distinctive features of the Melanson Site include large pits on the latest part of the site and the use of the chalcedonies from nearby Scots Bay on North Mountain. Also on North Mountain is Cape Blomidon, the home of Glooscap, and it is argued here that the pre-eminence of the Melanson Site is a product of the availability of Gaspereau, the proximity of the stone quarries and the supernatural qualities of Blomidon.



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Mi'kmaq; Mi'kmaw artifacts; antiquities; ethnology

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