Work halted after ancient arrowheads found at park construction site in Hamilton

Work on a splash pad in Hamilton has been halted, after arrowheads dating back thousands of years were found during an archaeological dig in the city’s Victoria Park.

The arrowheads could be as old as 4,500 years old, according to an update from the city’s Ward One Coun. Maureen Wilson.

The arrowheads were found after Archaeological Research Associates wrapped up stage four archaeological digs earlier this month at the historic park on King St. West.

The City of Hamilton has notified Six Nations of the Grand River, Huron Wendat, and Mississaugas of the Credit First Nations of the finds.

According to archaeological practices in Ontario, a stage four dig means significant artifacts have already been found on a particular site and mitigation measures are being taken to avoid further disturbance, as well as protecting the heritage of the site.

The city is offering archaeological monitoring agreements for the First Nations groups as next steps are taken to protect the cultural heritage of the site, the city said.

The Haudenosaunee Development Institute has also been notified.

Further updates on the consultations, including monitoring agreements, will be shared as appropriate, said Meghan Stewart, Acting Manager, Landscape Architectural Services.

Other artifacts found include a carved bone domino; alphabet ware with a fable/proverb/riddle transfer print; an 1859 Queen Victoria cent; and a 16th Regiment military button manufactured by P. Tait & Co. Circa 1860.

Indigenous artifacts found include arrowheads described as a Late Archaic (2,500 BCE to 1,000 BCE) or Early Woodland (1,000 BCE to 400 BCE) stemmed point, a Late Woodland (500 CE to 1650 CE) Triangular Point, both comprised of local Onondaga Chert.

The archaeological works have been tentatively rescheduled for June 29 and 30, as the city’s Landscape Architectural Services team engages in consultations with local Indigenous communities.

That work is expected to take about two days but the dates may change due to weather.

The park is fenced off and closed to the public.

The city said archaeological sites are a protected resource under the Ontario Heritage Act and that only licensed archaeologists are permitted to investigate and excavate them.

If caught, there could be fines of up to $1 million for those charged with unauthorized looting or destroying of archaeological sites.

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