Monday, August 06, 2007

Sifting through history
IT’S 3 p.m. My knees hurt. My back aches. Little pools of sweat form on my glasses, but my eyes never leave the trowel as I scrape the brownish-red earth.

Scrape after scrape turns up nothing as I scratch deeper and deeper into the excavation pit that a Parks Canada archeologist has assigned to me and two others. That archeologist, Charles Burke, is leading a public dig on a ridge on the Nova Scotia side of the New Brunswick border where the Acadian village of Beaubassin once stood.

Another scrape, another and another. Nothing. I stretch my tired hand forward to scrape yet again when the soil before me bursts in a miniature explosion. When the earth settles, a gleaming white tubular object is revealed.

Of course, there's this: Two pits over, Camilla Vautour is carefully scraping around a large stone that has broken through the surface as a result of her digging. The St. Ignace, N.B., resident is here for two reasons — she believes she was an archeologist in a previous life. . .

Too late in the day to make a lame joke.