Excavating local myths in the St. Lawrence estuary
St. Barnabé Island lies in the St. Lawrence estuary off Rimouski, the administrative center of eastern Québec. As the backdrop of the natural amphitheater formed by terraces overlooking a bay, the long and narrow island protects the city’s lower tier from northern winds but blocks its horizon. While most locals have never set foot on it, the island dominates their imagination as much as their landscape. It is the stage of tales of a lover turned hermit, shipwrecks and burials, beached whales, look-outs warning of British ships or German submarines, bootlegging, fashionable hunting parties, all alive in a vivid oral and written history. Archaeological fieldwork has been carried on the island since 2009 by a new team from the Université du Québec à Rimouski at the invitation of the local tourism board. While fieldwork has now turned into an archaeological field school, outreach remains a key objective. Engaging with the mythical characters and narratives of the island contributed to the visibility of the project locally, and to building an interest for archaeology in a region where archaeological activity had been carried by outsiders and seldom made accessible to the public.
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Excavating local myths in the St. Lawrence estuary. Manon Savard, Nicolas Beaudry. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. 2014 ( tDAR id: 437354)