News Release Archive

An Acadian aboiteau and part of an original dyke, dating from the
early 18th century, has been discovered in Annapolis County.

Located on the Queen Ann's Marsh, the aboiteau is close to the
Acadian Melanson settlement and was probably on part of their

An aboiteau is a hinged valve in the dyke which allows fresh
water to run off the saltmarsh and prevents salt water from
entering at high tide.

The Melanson site, one of the earliest European settlements in
Canada, was located on the north shore of the Annapolis River,
6.5 kilometres from the town of Port Royale, now Annapolis Royal.
Evidence was found by the Nova Scotia Museum in 1984 and Parks
Canada conducted site surveys and excavation from

Charles Melanson came to Acadia in 1957 when he was a boy. His
father was a Huguenot who had moved to England in 1632. Charles
married Marie Dugas, daughter of the armourer at Port Royale, and
settled at the site now known as the Melanson Settlement. They
had 14 children, nine daughters and five sons, eight of whom
established households in the same area.

In December 1755, approximately 1660 Acadians were expelled from
the area. They were placed aboard vessels bound for
Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York and North and South
Carolina. If Governor Lawrence's orders were fully executed, all
the building in the Melanson settlement would have been

The archaeological survey and excavation on the ruins of the
settlement located 18 separate features, many of which were
cellars. The site is the only pre-Expulsion Acadian settlement
that has detailed historical documentation and extensive
archaeological ruins.

Provincial archaeologist David Christianson, who directed the
original survey of the Melanson site said, " The Acadians were
very skilled at farming the saltmarshes and the discovery of this
aboiteau and dyke has the potential to provide first hand
information about this early technology."

In 1991 an old aboiteau was found in West Pubnico. An
archaeological salvage was conducted by the Nova Scotia Museum
and the aboiteau is being preserved by the Acadian community. An
exact date has not yet been attributed to this find.

A site survey of the aboiteau and dyke at Melanson Settlement is
currently being conducted by Nova Scotia Museum and the
Department of Canadian Heritage, Parks Canada.


Contact: Joan Waldron  902-424-7398 or 902-424-6478

trp                Apr. 03, 1996 - 10:20 a.m.