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February Lecture

"Community, Archaeology & Black Refugees: Beechville, Nova Scotia as a Case Study" Presented by Robert Shears


Tuesday, February 25, 2020 7pm Burke Theatre A Saint Mary's University Halifax


The community of Beechville, Nova Scotia, Canada, was founded by Black Refugees in the years during and following the War of 1812. Recent archaeological investigations and archival research have identified the location of the remains of possible structures within the original land plots settled by 1st generation Black Refugees coming to Nova Scotia during this period. These archaeological features exist on provincial Crown land to the south and west of the current Beechville community. The Beechville site would be representative of the entire Black Refugee migration and escape to freedom from slavery in the United States to the then British colony of Nova Scotia. This presentation will discuss the recent research into the history and archaeology of the community of Beechville.


For more than a decade, Robert Shears has been engaged in research-based and cultural resource management archaeology in Atlantic Canada, in the academic, public and private sectors. Robert holds a Master’s degree in Atlantic Canada Studies from Saint Mary’s University (SMU), a B.Sc. (Biology) and a BA (History/Anthropology) also from SMU. Robert is a staff archaeologist with CRM Group Limited., where he has worked since May of 2011. Over that time he has acted as Researcher, Field Director and Principal Investigator on a variety of reconnaissance, monitoring, testing and large-scale mitigation projects. Robert has worked on projects related to highway, waste water facility, waterfront and urban development, dam and spillway refurbishment and bridge and building construction. Robert has actively promoted and communicated archaeology in the region through involvement with the Canadian Archaeological Association and the Nova Scotia Archaeology Society, where he is a past-President (2007-2009). He served as a Director of the society from 2003 to 2016. Robert is also the 2010 Graduate Research Fellow with the Gorsebrook Research Institute.

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