Pockets of water trapped in rocks from a Canadian mine are over a billion years old, and the water could contain life forms that can survive independently from the sun, scientists said this week.
The ancient water was collected from boreholes at Timmins Mine beneath Ontario, Canada, at a depth of about 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometers).
“When these rocks formed, this part of Canada was the ocean floor,” said study co-author Barbara Sherwood Lollar, an Earth scientist at Canada’s University of Toronto.
“When we go down [into the mine] with students, we like to say imagine you’re walking on the seafloor 2.6 billion years ago.”
Working with U.K. colleagues Chris Ballentine and Greg Holland, Sherwood Lollar and her team found that the water was rich in dissolved gases such as hydrogen and methane, which could provide energy for microbes like those found around hydrothermal vents in the deep ocean. Read more.
One of Canada’s busiest harbours during the 18th century was located at Cape Breton’s Fortress Louisbourg.
Canada’s only team of underwater archaeologists are now searching the waters in Louisbourg and keeping an eye on the history below.
On Wednesday, the team searched the 250-year-old ruins of The Celeb, a 64-gun French warship that once protected the harbour.
“We return from time to time to Louisbourg to check up on the wrecks and see if there is any change,” says archaeologist Jonathan Moore.
The team dives into the chilly waters to do maintenance work and scrape kelp from the fragile structures.
They are also armed with underwater cameras and video equipment, capturing images of seven wrecks that remain from the 18th century. Read more.
It’s the oldest shipwreck ever found in Canada and one of the most important in the world: a 16th-century Basque whaling galleon that lies at the bottom of Labrador’s Red Bay, a sunken relic from the Age of Discovery that symbolizes the early spread of European civilization — and commerce — to the New World.
Now, the 450-year-old San Juan, a jumble of thick beams and broken barrels lying in shallow waters off the site of a 1560s-era whaling station in the Strait of Belle Isle, is to be resurrected by a team of Spanish maritime heritage experts planning to construct a full-scale, seaworthy replica of the original 16-metre, three-masted vessel. Read more.
In the 1950s, the now deceased Danish archaeologist Jørgen Meldgaard made a mysterious discovery in northeastern Canada:
A small, headless bear figurine, carved from a walrus tusk, was lying leaning up against the back wall of a stone fireplace in an old settlement. The bear had been positioned in a way that made it look as though it was ‘diving’ into the fireplace.
At the time, this little figurine didn’t cause much of a stir. It was just one out of a long series of discoveries that Meldgaard made during his field trips to the Igloolik region of Arctic Canada and Greenland in the 1950s and 1960s.
But when researchers at the Danish National Museum recently gained access to Meldgaard’s surviving diaries, records and photos, they realised that the discovery of the bear figurine was indeed quite sensational. Read more.
For the past 50 years—since the discovery of a thousand-year-old Viking way station in Newfoundland—archaeologists and amateur historians have combed North America’s east coast searching for traces of Viking visitors.
It has been a long, fruitless quest, littered with bizarre claims and embarrassing failures. But at a conference in Canada earlier this month, archaeologist Patricia Sutherland announced new evidence that points strongly to the discovery of the second Viking outpost ever discovered in the Americas.
While digging in the ruins of a centuries-old building on Baffin Island, far above the Arctic Circle, a team led by Sutherland, adjunct professor of archaeology at Memorial University in Newfoundland and a research fellow at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, found some very intriguing whetstones. Read more.
Today New York City is the Big Apple of the Northeast but new research reveals that 500 years ago, at a time when Europeans were just beginning to visit the New World, a settlement on the north shore of Lake Ontario, in Canada, was the biggest, most complex, cosmopolitan place in the region.
Occupied between roughly A.D. 1500 and 1530, the so-called Mantle site was settled by the Wendat (Huron). Excavations at the site, between 2003 and 2005, have uncovered its 98 longhouses, a palisade of three rows (a fence made of heavy wooden stakes and used for defense) and about 200,000 artifacts. Dozens of examples of art have been unearthed showing haunting human faces and depictions of animals, with analysis ongoing.
Now, a scholarly book detailing the discoveries is being prepared and a documentary about the site called “Curse of the Axe” aired this week on the History Channel in Canada. Read more.
Nova Scotia’s Mi’kmaq and Acadian groups are calling on Parks Canada to abandon plans to move centuries-old artifacts out of the province to save money.
Thousands of items are currently kept in a brand new, custom-built facility in Dartmouth with climate-controlled labs that hold historical artifacts from Atlantic Canada’s national parks and historic sites.
Last month, the federal government announced that to deal with budget cuts, Parks Canada will merge its six labs across the country over the next three years and consolidate the collections in Ottawa.
“It’s a bit concerning,” said Roger Hunka, the director of intergovernmental affairs for the Maritime Aboriginal Peoples Council.
“We are not just dollar bills. When you have decisions made that’ ‘I’m federal parks and I’m just going to make this decision without involving anybody,’ it’s a sad commentary. It’s not the way to run a federation.” Read more.
Members of the Musqueam First Nation marched through southwest Vancouver streets Thursday morning to demand protection of an ancient village and burial site.
The band and their supporters say a condo development is threatening an aboriginal village and burial ground considered one of the most important archeological sites in Canada.
Work is underway at the site of the 3,000-year-old Marpole Midden, on the 1300-block of S.W. Marine Drive, to build a five-storey commercial and residential complex along the banks of the Fraser River.
But the Musqueam band says human remains have already been unearthed and urgent action is needed to protect the site.
Band members have reportedly offered up a different piece of land in exchange for protecting this piece in dispute, but the province won’t sign off on the deal. Read more.