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Faculty of Arts
UNB Fredericton

Back to Bioarchaeology Field School

About the project

The only bioarchaeological field school of its kind in Canada

The Fortress of Louisbourg, a National Historic Site in Canada, boasts an impressive history that contributes to our understanding of life in Atlantic Canada during the 18th century.

Due to ongoing and imminent coastal erosion, this shared history is being lost at an alarming rate as archaeological material is being steadily destroyed.

Our research is designed to address ongoing erosional issues at the Fortress of Louisbourg by actively excavating and analyzing the individuals interred at Rochefort Point.

By rescuing these burials through a large scale, multi-year rescue excavation, there is a unique research opportunity to explore the lived experience of those who were part of the Louisbourg community while actively protecting their physical remains from certain destruction.


A partnership was established in 2016 between UNB and Parks Canada to begin systematic excavation of Rochefort Point to protect the burials most at risk of coastal erosion. This partnership is significant in that both parties:

  • work together towards a common goal of protecting these burials
  • recognize this unique research opportunity to learn more about 18th-century life
  • place high value on the dissemination of knowledge
  • recognize the appeal of this work both locally and nationally

Preserve the past through a learning opportunity

As a reconstructed French colonial site, Parks Canada aims to bring the past to life at the Fortress of Louisbourg through its historical reenactments and focus on visitor experience through immersive programming.

This partnership supports these goals by preserving the past at the site through the rescue of these burials, but also creating exciting learning opportunities for the general public.

For UNB, the partnership enriches student experience and focuses on technical skill building, knowledge translation, ethics and research integrity.

As the only bioarchaeological field school of its kind in Canada, this program showcases UNB as an important contributor to the discipline and strives to become the primary training program for emerging bioarchaeological undergraduate and graduate students both nationally and internationally.