In Commemoration of Reverend William A. White & the No. 2 Construction Battalion

Voyage-of-discoveryOn Friday, October 21st and Saturday, October 22nd 2016, a symposium will take place at Acadia University in honour of Reverend William A. White and the No. 2 Construction Battalion. It is a very full day and a half of activity during which there will be displays of student research, exhibits of WW1 material, and panel discussions on the service and sacrifice of the men of the No. 2. For information and registration, please visit

The Nova Scotia Archaeology Society Public Talk – 29 September, 2015

Forensic Investigation of the 17th Century Chesapeake

Owsley lecture Sept 2015_small

Click to download lecture poster

Dr. Owsley’s talk launches the Nova Scotia Archaeology Society’s 2015-16 lecture series, which is dedicated to the theme of archaeological science. Many of the talks pertain to material cultural research right here in Nova Scotia. Dr. Douglas Owsley will be visiting us at Saint Mary’s next week (Tues., 29 Sept.) to give a public lecture on his recent forensic work at early 17th century Jamestown.

September 29 – 7:00 pm
McNally Theatre/Auditorium,
Saint Mary’s University, 923 Robie Street, Halifax.

A backgrounder may be found here, courtesy of the BBC:



Nova Scotian Institute of Science Public Talk – RESCHEDULED to March 16

NOTE: New Date and Location for this Lecture!

Click to download lecture poster


The Shipwrecks of Halifax Harbour and Approaches”

Gordon Fader – President, Atlantic Marine Geological Consulting

7:30pm, Monday, March 16th, 2015
Helen Creighton Room, Alderney Gate Public Library
40 Alderney Drive, Dartmouth, NS.

Important Reminder: On the evening of the lecture, the Angus L. Macdonald Bridge will close for repairs at 7:00pm. If you live on the Halifax side of the harbour and wish to attend the NSIS lecture, please remember to either leave early to cross the Macdonald Bridge, or use the MacKay Bridge, or take the ferry to Alderney Landing.


During mapping of Halifax Harbour and approaches by the Geological Survey of Canada at BIO, numerous shipwrecks were discovered. Only a few were previously known and the discoveries opened a new chapter in the history of the Harbour. With assistance from the Maritime Museum and local divers, Gordon Fader was able to piece together the stories of their demise. Additionally, knowledge of the seabed using modern high resolution mapping technology has revealed detailed characteristics of the vessels and what has happened to them since their sinking. The stories of the shipwrecks will be elaborated against a background of the seabed of the Harbour.

All are welcome but seating is limited so “first come first served”!

For more details about the Nova Scotian Institute of Science at

Evenings @ Government House Public Talk – 21 April 2015

DSCN0585“Thibodeau Village: Community Engagement, Archaeology and the Discovery of an Acadian Past in a Nova Scotia Planter Landscape”

Sara Beanlands

Date: Tuesday April 21, 2015
Time: 7:00pm – 8:30pm (Doors open at 6:30pm)
Location: Government House, 1451 Barrington Street, Halifax
Registration: Call 902-424-7001 or register online

Sara Beanlands is a Principal and Senior Archaeologist with Boreas Heritage Consulting Inc., specializing in cultural resource management. Graduating from Dalhousie University with a Bachelor of Arts in 1998, and completing a Master’s degree in History at Saint Mary’s University in 2010, Sara has undertaken a wide range of archaeological projects throughout Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, and in Ontario. She has served as President of the Nova Scotia Archaeology Society, currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Archaeological Land Trust of Nova Scotia and the Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society, and recently joined the faculty at Saint Mary’s University as an adjunct professor in the Department of Anthropology.

During the summer of 2013, Sara directed a large public archaeology programme on a farm in the small rural community of Poplar Grove that contains both Pre-Deportation Acadian archaeological resources and evidence of early Planter occupation. Offering a unique opportunity to explore the cultural interface of Acadian/Planter settlement in Nova Scotia, participants in the public programme included direct descendants of both the original Acadian and Planter families who occupied the site.

This is a free public event, everyone is welcome.
For more information and to view upcoming events in the series visit or follow the Lieutenant Governor on Twitter @LtGovNS and Facebook

New Book: Voyage of Discovery: Fifty Years of Marine Research at Canada’s Bedford Institute of Oceanography

Voyage-of-discoveryMembers and friends of the Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society may be interested in a new book that commemorates the fiftieth anniversary of marine research accomplishments of the Bedford Institute of Oceanography (BIO). Since 1962, BIO, based in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, has been Canada’s premier, multidisciplinary marine research facility. Over the past five decades, researchers at BIO have made significant contributions to global understanding of the oceans.

Voyage of Discovery: Fifty Years of Marine Research at Canada’s Bedford Institute of Oceanography summarizes research on the oceanography of the Arctic and Eastern Canada in a series of 48 papers by past and present research staff from all oceanographic disciplines. Members of the Society may be particularly interested in the chapter by Dalhousie Historian of Science, Dr. Eric Mills, entitled “Canadian Marine Science from before Titanic to the Establishment of the Bedford Institute of Oceanography in 1962.” Two other chapters trace the historical roots of BIO.

Voyage of Discovery was prepared with a broad readership in mind and was launched at BIO on 20 November 2014. Further details about this new book, published by the BIO-Oceans Association, are found in the attached Table of Contents and Announcement / Order Form. Note: See the NSIS website for the files mentioned.

Old Sydney Society Lecture – 27 March 2014

To “The Ice”: Cape Breton and Mainland Nova Scotia’s Participation in the Seal Hunt 1825-1845″

Sandy Balcom will speak at the next meeting of the Old Sydney Society on 27 March 2014, 7:30 PM at the Centre for Heritage and Science, 225 George St., Sydney.

During the mid-1820s, Nova Scotia’s maritime entrepreneurs looked with envy at the tremendous growth in Newfoundland’s seal hunt, which concentrated on the taking of immature harp seals on the ice-fields in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and more significantly to the north of Newfoundland. Occurring at a time of year when vessels and crews were typically under-employed, the seal hunt appeared  a natural complement to the province’s existing maritime trades and fisheries. On Cape Breton, a modest seal hunt already existed, which focused on the taking of young and adult seals in the Gulf of St. Lawrence as soon as ice conditions permitted. Entrepreneurs successfully lobbied for a bounty to encourage sealing, which began in 1833 and continued annually, with one exception, until 1844. In spite of this encouragement, the industry faced inconsistent returns, difficulties in obtaining competent crews and threats from ice and weather to vessels and crews.  Although some growth was achieved, the bounty did not achieve its overall objective of fostering a sealing industry and was eliminated after 1844. Cape Breton participation in the seal hunt continued but this effort at diversifying the province’s traditional maritime economy failed to meet its expectations.

This talk will be streamed live on the internet at:

World Premiere of “Never A Syllable” – 25-29 March

NeverASyllable “Never A Syllable” provides an original and provocative interpretation of what happened in Halifax and Nova Scotia during the War of 1812.  Written by Paul Robinson with Pamela Halstead and presented by Onelight Theatre in association with Alderney Landing,


November 13, 1813 ~

As war rages in the Canadas, a hurricane devastates much of Britain’s Halifax-based North Atlantic fleet. Amid the devastation, an order is received from the Governor General: 220 sailors, recent recruits from the London streets, are to be sent 1,500 km overland from Halifax to Kingston in the dead of winter—a route that few settlers have crossed, where the assistance of the Mi’kmaq and Maliseet is crucial to survival.

The Admiral is also facing challenges closer to home—the growing unhappiness of his daughter in this garrison town and increasing demands from restless local leaders who are determined to turn Halifax into the jewel of the North.


Starring Gordon White, John Dartt, Brian Heighton, Andrea Lee Norwood and Michael McPhee. See for details and ticket information.

Symposium on Public Archaeology – March 20-21, 2014


Click to download event poster

You are invited to join us for “SHARING THE PAST: A SYMPOSIUM ON PUBLIC ARCHAEOLOGY”,  to exchange information and perspectives on Public Archaeology on March 20 – 21, 2014 at Saint Mary’s University, Halifax, NS.


  • Opening remarks by Dr. Catherine Cottreau-Robins, Provincial Archaeologist of Nova Scotia
  • Keynote Speaker: Tim Schadla-Hall, University College London and Editor of Public Archaeology
  • Session Speakers: Charles Burke, Senior Archaeologist, Parks Canada; Dr Helen Kristmanson, Director of Aboriginal Affairs and Archaeology, Government of PEI; Sara Beanlands, Boreas Heritage Consulting Inc.; Dr. Karolyn Smardz-Frost, Senior Research Fellow for African Canadian History at the Harriet Tubman Institute, York University and Harrison McCain Visiting Professor, Acadian University; Rebecca Dunham, Senior Archaeologist, Fortress of Louisbourg, Parks Canada; and, Dr. Jonathan Fowler, Saint Mary’s University.

The symposium is free, including reception, lunch and coffee breaks, and open to all those who are interested but registration is required. To register, or for more information, please email ASAP.

Norse/Native Contact in Arctic Canada – 18 March, 2014

norse_native contact

Click to download event poster

Norse/Native Contact in Arctic Canada

11:30am, 18 March 2014, Life Sciences Centre, Room 242, Dalhousie University

Presented by Dr. Patricia Sutherland
Research Fellow, University of Aberdeen; Adjunct Professor, Carleton University and Memorial University of Newfoundland

Abstract: Recently identified archaeological finds from Canada’s eastern Arctic suggest the existence of a little known chapter in North American history. Artefacts resembling those used by Europeans of the Viking and Medieval periods have been recognized in several archaeological collections from Baffin Island and the adjacent regions of northern Labrador. These collections are from site locations occupied by the Dorset culture Palaeo-Eskimos, a distinct population that inhabited Arctic Canada before the arrival of ancestral Inuit from their Alaskan homeland. Investigations undertaken as part of the Helluland Archaeological Project have also yielded other lines of evidence which suggest that the Norse, who had founded colonies in southwest Greenland, may have had a significant presence in Arctic Canada. Interactions with the Dorset culture people during the centuries around 1000 A.D. appear to have been more frequent, more widespread and more complex than has previously been believed. Relations between the Norse and the early Inuit were likely more sporadic and opportunistic.

Dr. Sutherland has been involved in archaeological research in the Canadian Arctic since 1975 and has collaborated on a number of projects in Greenland. Until recently she held the position of Curator of Arctic Archaeology at the Canadian Museum of Civilization.

Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia – Public Lecture, 20 March, 2014

Click to download event poster

Click to download event poster

Allan Marble presents:

“Destined for Demolition: Hospital Buildings constructed in Nova Scotia, 1867-1950”

Thursday, March 20th, 7:30pm
Museum of Natural History
1747 Summer Street, Halifax

During the last six years Allan Marble has been researching the history of hospitals in Nova Scotia, a topic which has been completely overlooked by other historians. Considering that a large number of Nova Scotians have been born in and have died in hospitals, one would have expected there would be some interest in how hospitals were established and who was responsible for their establishment. Allan will answer these questions in his presentation and show photographs of several of the hospitals, many of which were the among the most elegant buildings in the towns of Nova Scotia.

For more information, please visit the Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia’s Website.