MONTREAL – Last year, 18th century ruins were found at the site of the new Turcot Interchange.
Now, a whole new set of ruins were unearthed over the weekend, sparking the application for an archeological dig permit from the Transport Ministry.
The superficial overview of the site uncovered large basins that were used to treat leather in Saint-Henri, an 18th century tannery village.
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“The internal organization and all the basins seem intact,” Transport Quebec archeologist Frank Rochefort said.
“We can tell that it’s a workshop and where all the vats were located.”
Much of the masonry and exterior walls have been destroyed over time, but the condition of the interiors merit a full archeological dig, he said.
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If the permit goes through, the excavation will pause work on the Turcot construction for up to three weeks.
“We will investigate all the basins, the interior of the building, and also the outside to see how people worked,” Rochefort said.
After the excavation is complete, a full 3D scan will be performed before the Turcot work resumes.
Thousands of artifacts were collected from the previous dig and are still undergoing cleaning and analysis, but Rochefort said the process is almost complete and reports are being prepared.
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The destruction of the previous village prolonged the analysis, but he is much more optimistic about the condition of the new site.
“When we dug last year, all the old tanneries were either partly destroyed or greatly modified with subsequent construction, so we couldn’t see all the internal organisation and how people worked inside,” Rochefort said.
“We will now be able to collect data on this.”