The Mystery of Wobamkek Beach

Wobamkek Beach is located on the southwest side of Port Mouton Bay in Queens County, Nova Scotia. During the Mersey Heritage Society's December 2004 field trip to the Southwest Port Mouton beach, some very interesting archaeological features were discovered.

The back beach area consists of sand dunes that have, for the most part, been overgrown with spruce, pine and fir trees, creating a labyrinth of pathways hillsides. The area between Burgess Road and Tripps Brook takes in several hectares and it's easy to get disoriented if you don't know the pathways.

Society member Danielle Robertson came upon what might be an old cellar, but at 4 metres (12 feet) deep, it is hard to imagine that it was the basement of a small dwelling built many years ago.

Above: Archaeologist Mike Sanders examines the "pit". The feature may be a 20th century cistern or a Loyalist shelter.

After examining the "pit" discovered by Robertson, archaeologist Mike Sanders said that he had not seen anything like it before. Sanders suggested that it may be the remains of a temporary structure built by Loyalists in 1783 as a desperate attempt to shelter from the winter weather.

A subsequent visit to the area identified another series of features closer to the beach. These included small stone walls and a circular feature that may be a well. In the same area were other peculiar features.

Below: A raised circular feature among the trees, about two metres in diameter identified in the Wobamkek Beach area.

In addition to these unknown formations, the remains of several buildings can be seen near the main road to Southwest Port Mouton. These buildings were part of the Wobamkek Beach Summer Resort, founded in 1922.

As most local people know, Champlain landed near (at Bull Point) here in 1604, and in 1703 the Governor of Acadia granted a large area that included Wobamkek Beach for the purpose of settlement and trade. It is not known if any developments were made as a result of this grant.

Above, right: A well located next to the remains of one of the 1922 resort buildings.

Below: The remains of the resort Dining Hall.

Unlike the Guysborough town site in Port Mouton where the origins of the archaeological features examined by the Mersey Heritage Society were expected to be Loyalist, the features at Wobamkek are a mystery. They could be French or Loyalist, or associated with the 1922 resort. It is likely that native people used this area as well, perhaps for thousands of years.

Only proper archaeological testing, carried out with a permit from the Nova Scotia Museum, will tell the story.

If you know of any other strange features in this area, or of someone who has found an interesting artifact in the area, please let us know. You can email us. Maybe we can help with identification. A viewing or photograph may do. The society does not collect items, just information!

Left: 1945 air photo of Wobamkek Beach. Above: 2000 air photo - vegetation appears to have encroached on the beach through the 20th century.

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