Sunday, March 9, 2014
Subsequently, a Skype discussion with
Beanlands led the Thibodeau dig last summer on property owned by the Shaw family for seven generations. Their ancestors farmed the property as “planters”, who came to
Beanlands is related to the Shaw family. As a professional archeologist in
Indeed, the oral history of
Thibodeau Village excavation of a pre-expulsion era building foundation in Nova Scotia, led by Sara Beanlands (who contributed this photo).
“There comes a point when people loose the connection between oral history and particular landmarks and places,” she said. For example, the name “
Beanlands wanted to get to the bottom of oral history she grew up hearing about, on property owned by her aunts and uncles. They are seventh generation descendents of “planters”, the loyalists invited by the British to farm the lands left vacant by the dispersed Acadians, after le grand derangement.
An 18th century map identified the Shaw property as “
Subsequently, the Shaw’s were gracious to welcome Thibodeau and family visitors, who participated in last summer’s archeology excavation.
Beanlands received permission from authorities and the Shaw family to excavate the remains of the foundation of a structure known as the Old French House. It survived the expulsion and remained on the property for several hundred years. As a matter of fact, she once played inside the building when it was used as a barn. Although the structure collapsed in the 1980’s, a photograph of the pre-expulsion building existed. The massive building was built with long wooden planks, indicative of a forest that no longer exists in the region. Although oral history identified the building as a pre-expulsion structure, probably built at the beginning of the 18th century, there was little if any proof of Acadians having lived there, until the archeology excavation uncovered evidence.
This is a short summary of what Beanlands’ research learned during last summer’s dig:
1. After the Acadians were removed (the expulsion) the structure was used by the English. This is new information, because there was no oral history of anyone having occupied the structure after the disbursement.
2. Archeology uncovered pottery matching pieces previously identified in
3. Older than either the French Acadian or the English inhabitants, the excavation also found evidence of a possible ancient Micmac Native American presence on the land.
Moreover, Beanlands offered even more information to possibly connect my husband’s grandmother, Lumina Savoie’s family, with the brutal 1755 le grand derangement, via another archeology site in
Beanlands will present a seminar about the archeology of the Thibodeau Village at the upcoming August 2014 World Acadian Congress, in Northern Maine, New Brunswick and Quebec Canada. www.cma2014.com
Information about the project is available by contacting Sara J. Beanlands at firstname.lastname@example.orgTweet
Juliana L’Heureux is a freelance writer whose articles about Maine’s Franco-American history and culture have appeared in Portland newspapers for 25 years. She serves on the Maine Franco-American Leadership Council.
Juliana and her husband Richard live in Topsham ME. Feel free to contact her at Juliana@mainewriter.com.