Samuel de Champlain at Port Mouton 1604

This archaeological site is the location of an encampment made at Southwest Port Mouton in May 1604 by De Monts and Champlain. They had become separated from a supply vessel during their crossing of the Atlantic Ocean, and a ship was dispatched to go back and meet the vessel, while the others waited in Port Mouton.

The explorers built huts on what is now called Bull Point, and commenced hunting and fishing around the bay. Bull Point was likely chosen because it was a defensible position with a supply of fresh water and a view of the ocean approaches. This area was recently visited by the Mersey Heritage Society during a field trip held in November 2000.

Champlain's map (right) shows the location of the dwellings, and the major features of Port Mouton Bay: Mouton Island, Broad River/Summerville Beach (labeled "E" in upper right), and Spectacle Island (labeled "H" at centre). We known that Champlain left to explore further south and into St. Mary's Bay. He may have drawn many of the inland details, such as "G" (the causeway) and "f" (the Pond) based on the accounts of others, which would explain their distorted appearance.

Ganong, in his translation of Champlain's works for the Champlain Society, said that this was one of Champlain's poorest quality maps. The Atlantic coastline (labeled "M"along the bottom) has actually been drawn at right angles to its actual position, and Bull Point's prominence has been greatly exaggerated. Ganong thought that this indicated the map was drawn from a position on Bull Point.

No testing is planned for this site in the immediate future. The land is currently undeveloped and privately owned, and undergoes little recreational use. Due to the short duration of occupation (about 4 weeks in 1604), the likelihood of discovering artifacts by constructing two or three test pits is unlikely. The Mersey Heritage Society will help to protect this site and look for opportunities to conduct physical surveys in the future.

For more information on the history of Port Mouton and Champlain, visit these sites:

The L'Ordre du Bon Temps website has the following about Champlain and Port Mouton. This site also has a good deal of general history of Champlain and Acadia:

"DeMonts with two vessels, sailed from Havre de Grace, on the 7th March, 1604, reaching Cape LaHave, in Acadia, on the 12th of May. They made a settlement at Port Mouton where they stayed about one month. Meanwhile, Champlain and ten other men, sailed on the 19th May, passed Cape Sable on the 20th, and sailed westward to find a place to make a settlement, and returned back to Port Mouton. In mid-June, they all sailed from there, and established themselves at St. Croix, in the New Brunswick coast. The next year, they removed to Port Royal. In the autumn of that year (1605), DeMonts, Poutrincourt, and Champlain, sailed for France, leaving Pontgrave as Commander of Port Royal."

The following excerpt is from History of Nova Scotia "Early Settlement & Baronial Battles: 1605-90". This page also has a lot of general history about Champlain and his times.

"...until they reached Port Mouton where their ocean going sailing vessel was put at anchor....the vessel was to stay in the Port Mouton area for about a month while Champlain and Jean Ralluau (de Monts' secretary) were sent further down the coast with a view to locating an appropriate place at which the explorers might set up their quarters on land. They were concerned about the natives (though as things turned out they had nothing to be too much worried about, at least not of the natives of Nova Scotia), thus they thought it necessary to find a position which might be easily defended.

"Leaving de Monts, together with the larger part of the expedition behind, Champlain and Ralluau together with a crew of about ten, to man the longboat, set out westward and eventually rounded the end of the large peninsula (which today we know as Nova Scotia) and came up around its back-end, northeast, and they were soon caught up in a bay, which they named Baie Sainte Marie (today, St. Mary's Bay)."

For information about another Acadian site in Queens County, see our Nicolas Denys fishing post page.

Guysboro Township at Port Mouton and Tarleton's Legion. The Mersey Heritage Society plans to conduct testing at this Loyalist site, also located in Port Mouton.

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