Reconstruction Archaeology

Reconstruction archaeology is one area that has benefited from experimental archaeology. Here, our hosts create copies of historical buildings, tools, vehicles, or other objects, using only historically accurate materials and technologies.

Our group of specialist in reconstruction archaeology will deliberately be limited to the use of only known raw materials and only  processes (only where practical to current health and safety guidelines) and technologies known to have existed at the target time in history as it relates to our series.

Through these limitations our reconstruction archaeologists are able to test their own theories about how tools or long forgotten mechanical conveyances were made, how buildings were constructed, and consequently answer the many unknown questions relating to these items, as it relates to Canadian history.


Above: The reconstruction of a small river scow in  Rediscovering Canada – Three Dollar Boat.


Above: Dr Christopher Cooper on set… Rediscovering Canada – Three Dollar Boat

Our Story – Rediscovering Canada

Our story began in 2005 when Dr Christopher Cooper wanted to get a better understanding of an early form of temporary dwelling called a pit house.  During a trip to Birchtown, Nova Scotia Christopher found a pit house which was a reconstruction in 2002 as a result of an archaeological dig. This pit house was used by our Black Loyalist (c1784) to survive the winter and quite possibly for up to 10 years!  Essentially a pit house was a cellar dug below grade and a wooden tent like structure built over to provide a crude dwelling.


Above: On set, the construction of the pit house structure.

An interesting footnote can be that many cultures including the Vikings and our Indigenous peoples have used this type of structure, “the pit house” as part of their built heritage.  Therefore, could the pit house be the first domestic structure to be built in Canada whether it be Indigenous, Viking or European… or in this case with respects to the Black Loyalists… African?

Dr Cooper with a group of five others including Joe Beaudette, set to work building a pit house using materials and tools available in the late 18th century. Upon its completion the group lived, cooked and ate their meals, and attempted to stay warm in -30 degree Celsius conditions for a total of eight days.


Above: The finished Pit house.


Above: The interior of the pit house.

The project was filmed during the build stages and through the habitation and in the end created the film “Rediscovering Canada – For the Pits.”