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Canadian Historic Sites: Occasional Papers in Archaeology and History No. 1


The increasing interest of the public in Canada's historic heritage is reflected in the growing number of museums, restorations, commemorations and similar developments sponsored by all levels of government and various private interests. In the federal sphere, responsibility for the selection, management and development of sites of national historic importance rests with the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development. He is advised by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, an independent body composed of members from each province, which considers all proposals for commemoration and which recommends to the Minister those persons, places and events which are of sufficient importance to the country as a whole to merit recognition on a national level. The management and development of those sites which the Minister has declared to be of national historic importance are carried out by the National Historic Sites Service (formerly Canadian Historic Sites Division).

The obvious results of the Service's work take the form of National Historic Parks and Sites and involve the staff in architectural restoration and preservation, museums and displays, plaques, period furnishings and pamphlets. Historical and archaeological research play a key role in all of this, for they provide the base of knowledge which enables the Service to develop in a meaningful fashion those sites which have relevance to national history. To date, our work has concentrated on the broad aspects of communication with the general public in the form of site interpretation and we have been unable to give sufficient consideration to communication at the professional level in the form of published research reports. We recognize, however, the obligation of the historian and the archaeologist to make known the results of their work and it is to discharge this obligation that the present series of occasional papers has been inaugurated.

Although our series is primarily designed as a publication medium for the staff of the National Historic Sites Service, we will consider for publication any papers of professional quality that relate to our fields of interest. Papers will be published in both English and French in separate issues. They will be published first in the language in which they are submitted, with the translation appearing as soon as possible. As the name of the series implies, numbers will be issued on an occasional basis, with the timing dependent on the readiness of papers for publication.

The first article is a broad survey intended to introduce the program of historical archaeology carried out by the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development since 1962. John H. Rick, formerly Senior Archaeologist in the National Historic Sites Service and now Chief of the Service's Research Division, covers the results of our excavations at various sites across the country and discusses some of the problems encountered. The second article on glass trade beads by Kenneth E. and Martha Ann Kidd presents a new classification system and nomenclature which, it is hoped, will be of benefit to archaeologists who are working with these materials. The system is designed for use in the field, requires no costly nor expensive equipment, and, in addition, is expansible to include any new bead types which may be found in future work in sites in northeastern North America. The final article in this issue is a brief summary of the history of the Roma settlement on Brudenell Point, Prince Edward Island, by Mrs. Margaret Coleman. A report on the archaeological field work at this site during the years 1968 and 1969 will be published in a forthcoming issue.

It is hoped that these papers will receive the critical and helpful attention of those working elsewhere in similar and related fields and will serve as a stimulus to further research in the anthropology and history of Canada.

J. A. MacDonald
Deputy Minister
Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

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