Nova Scotia Archaeology

Special Places Protection Act
The Nova Scotia legislation governing the “Preservation, Regulation and Study of Archaeological and Historical Remains and Paleontological and Ecological Sites.”

Archaeological Land Trust of Nova Scotia
The Archaeological Land Trust of Nova Scotia is dedicated to protecting one of Nova Scotia’s most precious non-renewable resources – archaeological sites – for all Nova Scotians. To achieve this goal, ALTNS pursues land ownership, conservation easements and cooperative agreements with landowners. ALTNS works with landowners to protect significant archaeological sites throughout the province.

Archaeology at Grand-Pré
The archaeological research program at Grand-Pré, has been a collaborative effort between The SociétéPromotion Grand-Pré, Parks Canada, and Saint Mary’s University. The project, directed by Jonathan Fowler, is a field school that offers undergraduate students an opportunity to learn archaeological methods in a hands-on environment.

Nova Scotia Museum
The Nova Scotia Museum’s Archaeology site has information on the Special Places Protection Act, which regulates the protection and excavation of archaeological sites, as well as information on archaeology in Nova Scotia and the history of our province.

Mersey Heritage Society
Queen’s County, Nova Scotia. “Helping to Protect Queens County’s Heritage Resources.”

Industrial Heritage Nova Scotia
Industrial Heritage Nova Scotia (IHNS) was founded in 1996 to bring together people interested in the preservation and interpretation of Nova Scotia’s rich industrial past. This group meets to present and discuss our common history, visit sites and undertake site recording using archaeological techniques. Industrial heritage consists of the remains of industrial culture which are of historical, technological, social, architectural or scientific value. IHNS is also interested in industrial archaeology, an interdisciplinary method for studying documents, artefacts, human settlements and landscapes created for or by industrial processes. With the members interests being many and varied, IHNS  tries to provide a congenial forum to engage anyone interested in industrial heritage and archaeology.

Birchtown Archaeology
Birchtown, Nova Scotia, is important in the cultural history of all descendants of the Black Loyalists, African American and African Canadian Peoples. The Black Loyalist Experience is commemorated by the National Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada. The Black Loyalist settlers began to establish themselves here in 1783. In an effort to rediscover this place, its people and their history, archaeological investigations have been carried out since 1993. The Black Loyalist Heritage Society has been largely responsible for this work and has taken on a primary role in the research and documentation of Birchtown’s settlers and their descendants. The website is designed as a gateway to the archaeology of this Black Loyalist community, the remains of the homes and objects left behind at Birchtown and the stories they have to tell us about what the lives of the Black Loyalists were like.

Canadian Archaeology

Canadian Archaeology Association

Colony of Avalon
The colony of Avalon was founded by George Calvert, later Lord Baltimore, in 1621. Archaeologists have uncovered over a million artefacts to date – gold rings, Portuguese ceramics and other unusual objects – as well as a smithy, a stone-walled well, a sea-flushed privy and the “prettie street” described in very early accounts. There is evidence of earlier occupations by Beothuk Indians and Basque fishermen. You can tour the site, which is located in Ferryland, Newfoundland.

World Archaeology

World Archaeological Congress
WAC seeks to promote interest in the past in all countries, to encourage the development of regionally-based histories and to foster international academic interaction. It is committed to the scientific investigation of the past, ethical archaeological practice and the protection of cultural heritage worldwide. It supports the empirical investigation and appreciation of the political contexts within which research is conducted and interpreted, and promotes dialogue and debate among advocates of different views of the past.

Society for Historical Archaeology
Historical Archaeology is the study of the material remains of past societies that also left behind historical documentary evidence. This subfield of archaeology studies the emergence, transformation, and nature of the Modern World.

Archaeological Institute of America
The Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) is North America’s oldest and largest organization devoted to the world of archaeology with nearly 250,000 members and subscribers belonging to more than 100 local AIA societies in the United States, Canada, and overseas, united by a shared passion for archaeology and its role in furthering human knowledge.

San Felice Archaeological Research Project
The San Felice Archaeological Research Project is the archaeological investigation of a Roman imperial landholding in modern Puglia (ancient Apulia). The project, which began in the summer of 2004, is directed
by Dr. Hans vanderLeest of Mount Allison University (Canada) and Dr. Myles McCallum of Saint Mary’s University (Canada). The project seeks to better understand the nature of imperial properties in southern Italy, including their architectural layout, economic function, and organization.

Beta Analytic
Beta Analytic is a carbon dating lab that revolutionized the fields of archaeology and late quaternary geology. Prior to the company’s inception in 1979, radiocarbon dates were scarce and available only through small university laboratories. It took months and sometimes years to obtain carbon dating results. Beta Analytic serves the scientific community’s need for accurate carbon dating analysis, with results delivered within 30 days. Beta Analytic provides both LSC and AMS radiocarbon dates to more than 9,500 scientists around the world. Those radiocarbon dates have largely defined the chronological history of prehistoric man and earth.


Saint Mary’s University
Archaeology is taught at SMU in Halifax through the Anthropology department; field schools are offered most summers.

St Francis Xavier University
Archaeology is also taught through the Anthropology department at St. FX in Antigonish.

Archaeology Field Schools

Saint Mary’s University runs local field schools each summer, and often runs an international field school as well.

Trent University runs an annual field school in Belize focusing on Mayan archaeology.

University of Calgary field schools in Alberta and Antigua

University of Hawaii runs several field schools in Hawaii, Easter Island, and Guam.

The AIA also offers a comprehensive online list of field schools offered through Universities and other organizations worldwide.

Websites of Interest to Nova Scotia Archaeology

Novacadie Tours creates and offers heritage tours in Nova Scotia and beyond. Their professional guides are bilingual. They offer many ways to appreciate the geography & people of Atlantic Canada. Among their many offerings, an upcoming all-inclusive tour of Acadian origin regions of France is particularly appealing.