Archaeological Discoveries

Although the type and amount of interaction between the visiting Meadowood people and the Mi’kmaqs is not known, early traveling routes along the Saint Lawrence River are illustrated by the Meadowood presence. It may in fact have been the Meadowood people who introduced the pottery industry to the people of the Miramichi and beyond. Sometime between 3000 and 2500 years ago the making of finely decorated clay pots became a common and useful activity on the Miramichi.

The Augustine Mound is another Red Bank site that demonstrates early Mi’kmaq links with other regions. The Mound, discovered by the late Joseph Augustine, is a sacred ceremonial area where burials took place nearly 2500 years ago. The earth mound, the types of burials and the artifacts from the same suggest that a complicated trading system existed between the Miramichi Mi’kmaq and other Aboriginal groups from as far away as central Ohio. Sacred spiritual ceremonies and related items including polished stone smoking pipes, large and small copper beads, shell necklaces and beautifully-made flint knives were exchanged. The Mound continues to provide Mi’kmaq and other Native people with a spiritual sanctuary and a place for prayer and ceremonies.

Archaeological Dig

The largest and deepest Native village ever found in the Maritimes was discovered in 1977 by the late Red Bank elder Joseph Augustine. The Oxbow Site is on the Little Southwest Miramichi River, less than one kilometre from the present day community of Red Bank. The Oxbow site is over 200 metres in length and contains undisturbed layers of Mi’kmaq history extending to a depth of over two metres.

This large archaeological site had been built up by a combination of many campsite occupations and by frequent freshet deposits of fine river sediment. Three years of archaeological study at the Oxbow village site have provided excellent information concerning the Miramichi Mi’kmaq of the past.

Archaeological Dig

The Oxbow site was an intensively occupied warm weather fishing village. From the ancient campfires, charred bits of food bone, seeds, stone tools and ceramics, the lifestyles and material preferences of the Miramichi Mi’kmaq can be traced through nearly 3000 years. The Oxbow archaeology established the Mi’kmaq community of Red Bank (Metepenagiag) as New Brunswick's oldest continuously occupied village.

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