"Dig" Under Way At Secord House.
Brock Students Dig Way Into Queenston's History
QUEENSTON — Three Brock University students are digging their way into the past this summer, in a specialized archeological survey at Queenston on the Niagara River.
Centre of their attention is the Secord homestead, which stands in the shadow of the Brock Monument, and is the one-time residence of Laura Secord whose name became a part of Canadian history through her heroism during the War of 1812.
"We've made some pretty interesting discoveries, including a well no one knew about, what seems to be the foundation for another good sized structure and quite a number of hand tools. But we have not found Laura's garbage dump yet," reports Ian MacGregor, one of the trio working on the site since May 1. Garbage dumps are normally gold mines of information for diggers, containing everything from broken household crockery and utensils to discarded working tools and wearing apparel.
The Laura Secord property has been taken over by the candy company of the same name, and plans are now afoot to restore the homestead to accurately reflect lifestyle and living conditions in the early years of settlement on the Niagara frontier, while providing a permanent memorial to the famous heroine.
Purpose of the archeological dig is to uncover artifacts of the era when Laura Secord and her family lived in Queenston, from 1803 to 1835, and also recreate the layout and appearance of the site at that time.
Nick Karalis and Ian MacGregor are both third year students in honors Ancient History at Brock University which appropriately was named after General Sir Isaac Brock who lost his life at the Battle of Queenston Heights. Both have already taken part in archeological diggings, with Nick Karalis spending the summer of 1970 on a Gallo-Roman site in France, while Ian MacGregor worked on several Roman diggings in England before coming to Canada in 1967.
The third member of the party is Louise May, a second year student in honors Ancient and Renaissance History. Louise is both librarian and artist on the project, responsible for cataloguing and identifying all finds, and sketching the earth stratas and location of each discovery.
Individual diggings are being made at selected points around the homestead, with earth being painstakingly removed by hand trowel once the top soil has been cleared away. The traditional red clay of Queenston which Charles Dickens commented on when he visited the area in 1842 is almost 18 inches below the surface level of the lot.
Plans call for the digging to continue until June 30, and indications suggest that many interesting items are going to be unearthed before then to add to the information available, and help separate fact from fiction on Laura Secord, the distinctively Canadian heroine.