FREDERICTON (GNB) – Testing has confirmed that the indigenous encampment uncovered during the construction on Route 8 in the Marysville neighbourhood of Fredericton is one of the oldest sites in northeastern North America.

“The results of the radiocarbon testing are significant as the site will provide new insights into the lives of some of the first inhabitants of what is now New Brunswick,” said Tourism, Heritage and Culture Minister John Ames. “These new radiocarbon dates not only confirm the antiquity of the site but also that central New Brunswick was occupied by indigenous peoples within a millennia of the melting of the last ice sheets.”

To confirm the estimated age of the site, a number of charcoal samples from the fire pit and surrounding site were sent for radiocarbon dating. The resulting dates were slightly older than expected and indicate that the site was occupied between 12,600 and 12,700 years ago.

The site is located on what was the shoreline of a large glacial lake which existed in central New Brunswick at the end of the last ice age. Archaeological excavations uncovered evidence of a small Indigenous encampment which has produced thousands of fragments of stone tools, along with associated charcoal and animal bone fragments. The remains of a small intact fire pit with fragments of stone tools were also found, which is extremely rare for an archaeological site of this age.

The excavations were conducted last summer by the Archaeological Services Branch of the Department of Tourism, Heritage and Culture, with support from the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure and with the participation of students and graduates of the New Brunswick Community College Archaeological Field Technician Certification program.