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April 26, 2024

History Hidden within Artefacts Found on PHAI Sites

Human history is not confined to the pages of textbooks or the digital archives of today; it often lies hidden within the artefacts of the past. Some of these historical artefacts have been discovered in the Highland Drive Landfill as Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) completes an environmental cleanup of the former municipal dump site, to remove low-level radioactive waste.

When historical papers are found in the ground, they are often well-preserved due to the protective layer of soil that shields them from the elements. This was the case at the landfill. The relatively stable underground environment can protect these artefacts for decades, allowing us to read and study documents that might have otherwise deteriorated.

While the mission of the Port Hope Area Initiative (PHAI) is not to find historical documents, chance encounters for our staff and contractors in our excavations throughout PHAI work are often remarkable. Some of the items that have been uncovered during excavation include bones, hidden structures, in addition to the numerous business/personal correspondence and newspaper clippings found in the landfill.

When an item is found on a CNL site that is suspected to have archeological or historical significance, an archaeologist assesses it for historic or cultural value before determining next steps.

These accidental discoveries have the power to reshape our understanding of history, offering glimpses into the lives of people long gone and the events that formed their lives.

For additional information on PHAI work click here.

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