When Point Edward wanted to install a splash pad and new park equipment under the Blue Water Bridge an archaeological assessment was certain.
“It’s an area with several known archaeological sites,” said Peter Timmins, a principal archeologist with Timmins Martelle Heritage Consultants, the London based company conducting the archaeological assessment.
In the 1990s, cultural artifacts were found during the environmental assessment for the Blue Water Bridge construction.
Back then, researchers found blades, arrowheads, fishing tools, fish bones, and ceramic vessels. This made them guess Point Edward was a popular campsite for pre-colonisation indigenous people, according to a report in the July/August 1999 addition of “Arch Notes”, a journal published by the Ontario Archaeological Society.
Point Edward was likely a meeting place and trading place for a variety of people, according to local oral history and the 1999 report. This history is reflected in the present. The word Aamjiwnaang is an Ojibwa word denoting an important gathering place, according to the Aamjiwnaang First Nation website.
Now, more cultural artifacts have been discovered during work on a waterfront playground.
“So far, what we have found are primarily chert flakes, which is the waste material from making stone tools, small amounts of pottery, some fragments of arrowheads and stone knifes, animal bones such as several fish bones and mammal bone fragments,” said Timmins.
The artifacts are likely 1000 to 2000 years old, Timmins said.
However, this site isn’t as fruitful as the sites discovered during Blue Water Bridge construction which were described as “remarkable for the large number of artifacts recovered from such a small portion of the site,” in the 1999 report.
“We’re not talking huge numbers,” said Timmins. “It hasn’t been an extremely rich site so far but that’s partly because there’s a lot of previous disturbance from former development in the area.”
The Grand Trunk Railroad and the Central Canada Stone Company, both occupied the site over time, said Timmins.
“Some of our 1-metre squares only have only yielded 2-3 artifacts, others 20-30,” said Timmims. “At some sites we’ll find several hundred artifacts in a 1-metre unit. So, it’s not an extremely rich site.”
Timmins Martelle Heritage Consultants is responsible for taking care of the artifacts until they can be transferred to a museum or a repository and conversations are underway with Aamjiwnaang and Point Edward about the future of the artifacts, said Timmins.
“We’ll work with First Nations if they want some kind of recognition. We’re willing to work with them,” said Jim Burns, Point Edward CAO.