No stone left unturned: Halifax may pony up to help demystify Bayers Lake Mystery Walls
Archaeology society wants to use an X-Ray Fluorescence (pXRF) system “in order to analyze soil chemistry in and around the site.”
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For a few thousand dollars, the municipality may soon have a hand in solving a great mystery right in our own backyard.
Cue the spooky music.
The Bayers Lake Mystery Walls sit on municipally owned land near the back of the Bayers Lake Business Park, at the corner of Highways 102 and 103.
Discovered in the 1990s during land surveys for the park, the walls were dubbed mystery walls because no one actually knows how old they are, who put them there, or why they’re there at all.
According to halifaxtrails.ca, the most likely theories say the walls were likely used as "a defensive structure for the back end of Halifax, a military supply depot, or as a training ground for the siege of Fortress Louisbourg.”
At Thursday’s meeting of regional council’s Community Planning and Economic Development Standing Committee, the committee voted to recommend that council approve a grant of about $5,000 to try to answer those questions.
“Are they 5,000 years old, are they 1,000 years old, or are they actually only 100 years old, and then it’s not that big a deal? That’s the important thing to determine,” Coun. Waye Mason, chair of the committee, said on Thursday.
The Nova Scotia Nova Scotia Archaeology Society wants to use an X-Ray Fluorescence (pXRF) system “in order to analyze soil chemistry in and around the site.”
According to the proposal from the Society, that system “provides a fast, non-destructive analytical method for the analysis of elemental composition in a wide range of samples, with microscopic spatial resolution,” meaning it can help them figure out how old the walls are without digging into the soil around them.
“We anticipate two days of fieldwork to collect sufficient samples to characterize the five-sided structure and its immediate surroundings,” the proposal reads.
The Society also wants to include the public, and says in its proposal that they could run a site tour, or even a workshop or symposium.
The pXRF system needs to be rented from a lab in Ontario for a total of $7,475. Saint Mary’s University, which will have an archaeologist on site to supervise the work, is donating $2,000. The municipality is being asked to provide the remainder.