Nearly 30,000 artifacts unearthed along Detroit River

Posted at 9:56 PM, Jan 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-11 17:48:21-05

(WXYZ) — Workers unearthed nearly 30,000 artifacts along where the Detroit International Bridge Company plans to build its replacement span of the Ambassador Bridge.

CTV Windsor provided a update on the findings Thursday.

The dig along the Detroit River began May 2018. A team of field workers have been carefully digging. In that time they've uncovered arrow heads, pottery, stone drills and netting points, and the excavation is only 1/3 of the way complete.

Dean Jacobs, a member of the Walpole Island First Nation, a reserve in southwestern Ontario, is overseeing the investigation along with AECOM Canada.

"This project does start connecting the dots of our first nation at Walpole Island, the Windsor area are part of our traditional territory," Jacobs said.

Charlton Carscallen is the manager of the cultural resources department at AECOM Canada.

"It's first and foremost a chance to relate an archaeological past to a modern present," Carscallen said.

Jacobs says the process – although slow – is an important step in the truth and reconciliation process.

"We want to share what we're investigating and discovering and make sure that our ancestors are honored that way (and) that we give it some life and celebration," Jacobs said.

According to the CTV Windsor report, it's because of relative and carbon dating that items ranging from a couple hundred years old from the earliest European incursions, to nearly 10,000-year-old indigenous artifacts are being unearthed.

"The artifacts are important," Carscallen said. "(They're) critical to telling the story, but what's really important here is the settlement pattern data that talks about historic, domestic and non-domestic use of the area."

The Detroit International Bridge Company is working with Walpole to complete what is called a stage four archaeological dig as a condition of its permit from the Government of Canada. Archaeologists say the process can't be rushed.

"It's about understanding people and how they lived their lives," Carscallen said. "And i think that's something we sometimes lose track of in these projects where people are worried about deadlines and so on and so forth that there's a human history that's largely unwritten and rare opportunities like this give us a window that we just don't get very often."