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22 December 2010
Ancient findings may stop development in Canada

Opponents of development in the Beaver Pond forest of Kanata - in the western part of Ottawa, Ontario (Canada) - say they have found new tools for the fight. Stone tools carved about 10,000 years ago have been found in an archeology survey made back in 2005. The area's councillor isn't so sure these artifacts will help the cause, but she's going to do some legal checking.
     The developers carried out an archeological survey that concluded there was nothing special about the site. Steve Hulaj, president of the Kanata Lakes Community Association, says the thousands of sharpened stones found on the nearby Broughton Lands show that the Beaver Pond's archeological significance was perhaps dismissed too quickly. He also points to a written opinion this year from prominent archeologist Robert Mc-Ghee, which concludes that "the rocky upland areas of the proposed development... should be considered to be of high potential" as a site of early human settlement. After the last ice age, most of Ottawa was under the Champlain Sea, and the South March Highlands formed a rocky island. Early hunters are believed to have lived there and possibly hunted seals and whales in the shallow sea.
     The Broughton Lands survey shows more than 16,000 artifacts have been uncovered "only a few hundred yards away." Those artifacts have been classed as cutting tools, scraping tools, adzes and also thousands of fragments left from shaping the sharp edges. Hulaj says it's now the city's obligation to approach the provincial Ministry of Citizenship and Culture and suggest that the original archeological survey was incomplete, and the site should be surveyed again before any trees are cut.
     The city can ask for another survey, "but it won't save the land," stated Councillor Marianne Wilkinson, who represents the area. Wilkinson said she has asked the city's planning and legal departments for their opinions in the matter.
     
Edited from Ottawa Citizen (14 December 2010)

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