What Have We Here?
Located on the old Bonnechere tote road at Basin Creek, Basin Depot contains archaeological evidence of successive occupations. Early maps and aerial photographs suggest that a number of buildings once stood on the site, but now, only two grave markers, the ruins of several log structures and a lone cabin are all that can be seen.
Digging for Clues
Patches of toadflax drew the attention of the archaeologists to square earth mounds in the flat sandy clearing in the southwestern part of the site. The subsequent excavation of two long trenches exposed cultural strata laden with artifacts. To the east, another team of archaeologists and visitors investigated a stone-lined well. Some of the artifacts recovered suggested an early house site. Near the first foundation, cut nails, ceramic and glass fragments comprised much of the findings. Other items excavated include oil lamp fragments, a latch and key, leather boot fragments, bottle glass, bones, tobacco tags, a child’s clay marble, personal items, wire nails and a variety of firearm cartridges – all indicative of family life in pioneer Canada. Excavation of the well revealed even more of the story. When no longer needed, wells were sometimes used to dispose of trash. To archaeologists, garbage dumps, known as middens, are invaluable research tools, often containing a wealth of unexpected information. The well at Basin was no exception.