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Thursday, March 7, 2013

Mystery walls of Bayers Lake vandalized

Historic site may have been military fortifications.

Posted By on Thu, Mar 7, 2013 at 12:25 PM

click to enlarge Archeologist Jeff Turner shows tours the mystery walls.
  • Archeologist Jeff Turner shows tours the mystery walls.
The mystery walls of Bayers Lake have long stumped local historians and archeologists, but an even greater mystery has emerged: Who vandalized them?

Jeff Turner of the Nova Scotia Archeological Society regularly makes the hike up the hills on the side of Chain Lake Drive where the old ruins lie. “I’m disgusted,” he says. “Why do people do this to these sites? They just go in and destroy it.”

Turner says that despite being designated under the Nova Scotia Special Places Protection Act, vandalism has increased in the area. He thinks people are likely looking for artifacts to sell. There are signs of digging and parts of the stone foundations have been moved and walked on.

“Walking on the walls is not good for them and compacts them down and causes them to collapse,” says Turner.

Originally discovered in the 1980s when construction was taking place in Bayers Lake area, many think the walls—likely old foundations of buildings—can be traced back to the 1700s or 1800s, during the early settlement of Halifax. The site includes a five-sided foundation for the building, several hundred metres of stone wall and a staircase.

No one knows why they’re there. Archeological crews from HRM and Saint Mary’s University have done surveying in the past. Turner guesses it may have been a site for military exercises, in preparation for the storming of the Fortress of Louisbourg in 1758, or part of an actual defence network for Halifax in the War of 1812.

“Disturbing archeological remains—which includes digging—without a heritage research permit is a violation of the Special Places Protection Act,” says Glen Friel of the Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History. “There are signs on the site of the mystery wall that indicate the area is protected. It’s against the law to knowingly destroy archeological resources.”

Here's a video of the historic site:

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