Archaeology month offers public digs at Leamy Lake Park to explore Indigenous history
This Archaeology Month, the National Capital Commission invites residents and visitors of all ages to participate in their public archaeological digs at Leamy Lake Park. This unique opportunity allows participants to help recover artifacts and gain insights into the pre-contact history of the region, specifically the period before the arrival of Europeans.
Supervised by experienced archaeologists Ian Badgley and Monica Maika, the excavation takes place in collaboration with the Anishinàbe Odjìbikan, the archaeological field school of the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg, and the Algonquins of Pikwàkanagàn First Nation. The partnership ensures that the archaeological exploration is conducted with cultural sensitivity and respect for Indigenous heritage.
Leamy Lake Park boasts the largest pre-contact archaeological site complex currently known in the Ottawa River drainage basin. The site has been continuously used by various Indigenous groups for the past 6,000 years, with the primary occupation dating back 1,000 to 2,000 years. The artifacts recovered from these sites provide valuable information about the historical lifeways of the Anishinabe Algonquin people in the National Capital Region.
The public dig schedule for August 2023 is open to visitors between 8 am and 5 pm, with specific exceptions on August 3, 9, 10, 15, 18, 19, 20, 23, 24, and 29. Admission to the archaeological dig is free of charge, making it an accessible and educational experience for everyone.
Getting to the dig site is convenient with free parking available in the former Gatineau Boom parking lot. However, spaces are limited, and carpooling is recommended. Visitors should anticipate a 15- to 20-minute walk from the parking lot to the Leamy Lake Park dig site, and it's important to note that the gate is locked daily at 5:30 pm. For additional parking, there is an overflow option at Leamy Lake Beach, with a 20- to 30-minute walk to the dig site.
Public transportation is also an option, with bus stops located near the Voyageurs Pathway, which leads to the dig site. The Société de transport de l'Outaouais (STO) travel planner can help visitors plan their journey using public transit.
The event is designed to cater to adults, adolescents, and families, and there's even a simulated archaeological dig tailored for families with children under the age of 10. To ensure a comfortable and safe experience, participants are advised to bring water, insect repellent, and wear appropriate attire, including a hat, long pants, gloves, and closed-toe shoes with good treads, as parts of the trail to the dig site are rugged.
Photo caption: Unearthing history: embark on a journey into the past at Leamy Lake Park's public archaeological digs during archaeology month.
Photo credit: Photo courtesy of the NCC.