Archeologists are displaying some of the 47,000 artifacts — including a sword and chamber pot — found at a LeBreton Flats dig ahead of the Light Rail project, leading some to call for a museum to house them.
“We have to find a place to talk about the bigger history of Ottawa,” said Ken Clavette, former chair of the Heritage Advisory Committee. “We have the Cumberland museum, the Bytown Museum and Billings Estate Museum, but who is telling the larger story of Ottawa?”
Clavette said there are thousands of artifacts in storage from National Capital Commission digs that broke ground for the war museum and would like to see them given a home. He also suggested an interpretive centre on the LeBreton Flats site would also go a long way to explaining the history of the area.
Archeologists began the dig in May and continued unearthing items until July when the project wrapped up, said Brandy Lockhart, Lead Resident Archeologist of Golder Associates Ltd., which carried out the dig.
The most interesting object found was a British Cavalry sword dating from between 1796 and 1820 that was discovered under the floor of a shed in the backyard of a home that stood on Albert St., Lockhart said.
Digs took place on the site of the West End Hotel, which was built in the late 1800s as well as the Western Methodist Church built in 1873 and two homes.
Most of the items recovered showed what domestic life was like at the time. “We found mostly ceramics. It shows the tastes of the time,” Lockhart said. “They didn’t have garbage disposal. So these items remained.”
“The dig provide insight into the lives of people who were Ottawa’s earliest settlers,” she said. “It’s an interesting site because you don’t usually find archeological sites downtown.”