Workers were digging up the visitor parking lot at at the Fort Langley National Historic site this week, searching for archaeological finds.
Sixteen test pits, one to two metres wide and up to two metres deep, were being excavated in a hunt for historical artifacts beneath the pavement.
The dig was ordered in advance of a Parks Canada upgrade to the parking lot to improve drainage, traffic flow and underground utilities, part of a $3 billion federal infrastructure plan for national historic sites, parks, and marine conservation areas across Canada.
Parks Canada spokesperson Nancy Hildebrand said the work was required under federal legislation, which requires the agency to protect and preserve archaeological resources found on Parks Canada lands, whether the resources are on the surface of the ground, buried in the earth or submerged.
“While we can’t speculate on what may be found, this work may contribute to a better understanding of Fort Langley National Historic site,” Hildebrand said.
Previous archaeology at the site has revealed evidence of human occupation as long ago as 9,000 years.
Once the archaeology and utilities work has been completed, the repaving will take place.
Parks Canada promised plenty of parking will be available while the work is underway, but some areas of the parking lot will be closed and visitors may be parking on a gravel surface.
The historic site at 23433 Mavis Avenue recreates a former trading post of the Hudson’s Bay Company of the 1800s.
The fort is open seven days a week, year-round from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (closed Christmas, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day).
Admission is free with a Discovery Pass (available online), issued to mark Canada’s 150th birthday.