Dig starts for lost Rocky fort

arks Canada archaeologists are digging at the Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site in hopes of finding the fifth fort, which was used by the Hudson’s Bay Co. Last year, scans conducted by magnetom

Parks Canada archaeologists are digging at the Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site in hopes of finding the fifth fort, which was used by the Hudson’s Bay Co.

Last year, scans conducted by magnetometry and ground-penetrating radar revealed two areas of interest where buildings may have been lcoated.

Brad Himour, a Parks Canada terrestrial archaeologist, said the scans found several anomalies they want to check out.

“We’ll do some testing and find out exactly what they are and figure out how to best protect them.”

Magnetometry picks up metal that may have been a part of the fifth fort, specifically nails used in the wooden foundation or other artifacts.

The radar provided an overview of where soils were intact and where soil would have been interrupted for the building of a foundation.

“Right now there is soil above most of the remains from the fur trade era,” said Himour.

“Part of that area was cultivated at one time, so there is about 20 cm of soil on top of the site.

“Other portions of the site are completely intact and they have remains on the surface.”

This year’s testing involves setting up one-metre-by-one-metre excavation units and digging slowly, about five to 10 cm layers, screening all the material that comes up.

“We have two targeted areas from there that look like they could be structural features,” said Himour.

“Those will probably be the first two places we test.

“One looks like it may be the corner location of where two walls may have met, it’s hard to say until we do the testing.”

For some time, it has been thought that a fifth fort existed.

The floods of 2013 eroded the river bank near the historic site, expediting the quest to find it. The fifth fort site has never been located.

Himour said it was called the “temporary fort” and was operational from 1864 to 1868 while they were building a more permanent site.

Located close to the river, there was concern that earlier erosion had damaged the site.

The first testing of the sites that could contain historic ruins starts in June with three or four Parks Canada staff doing the testing.

But the hope is to include the public archaeology program, which allows students, community members and the general public a chance to help in the dig, starting in August.

“We hope to have found some good features that we can invite the public to dig with us in August,” said Himour.

While the belief is what they have found through scans is the fifth fort, Himour said it could also be homesteads.

“We’d really like to find out if that fifth fur trade post is still in place along the edge of the river,” said Himour.

As part of the dig, there will also be work done to secure the river bank and prevent further erosion from negatively impacting the historic site.

The National Historic Site is located six km west of Rocky Mountain House on Hwy 11A.

Anyone interested in working hands-on on an archaeology dig can get more information by visiting the Parks Canada website at www.pc.gc.ca or by contacting the site manager, Greg Joyce, at greg.joyce@pc.gc.ca.


Just Posted

WATCH: Red Deer teacher engages students with “cool” science experiments

On Thursday, he made fire dance to the beat of the music

Bower Place gets okay to redevelop

Red Deer municipal planning commission approves plans

Concerns raised about ice-cream-eating bear at drive-thru in Innisfail

Concerns are being raised about a video of a Kodiak bear from… Continue reading

WATCH: Marijuana in the Workplace information luncheon held in Red Deer

Central Alberta businesses need to prepare for the legalization of marijuana. That… Continue reading

In photos: Get ready for Western Canadian Championships

Haywood NorAm Western Canadian Championships and Peavey Mart Alberta Cup 5/6 start… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer city council debates cost-savings versus quality of life

Majority of councillors decide certain services are worth preserving

Got milk? Highway reopened near Millet

A southbound truck hauling milk and cartons collided with a bridge

Stettler’s newest residents overcame fear, bloodshed to come here

Daniel Kwizera, Diane Mukasine and kids now permanent residents

Giddy up: Red Deer to host Canadian Finals Rodeo in 2018

The CFR is expected to bring $20-30 million annually to Red Deer and region

Ice dancers Virtue and Moir to carry flag at Pyeongchang Olympics

Not since Kurt Browning at the 1994 Lillehammer Games has a figure… Continue reading

Beer Canada calls on feds to axe increasing beer tax as consumption trends down

OTTAWA — A trade association for Canada’s beer industry wants the federal… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month