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Augustine Mound National Historic Site of Canada

Southesk, New Brunswick, E9E, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1975/11/28

Augustine Mound National Historic Site of Canada; Parks Canada / Parcs Canada, 2001
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Construction Date(s)

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2005/11/30

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Augustine Mound National Historic Site is an archaeological site located within the reserve land of the Metepenagiag Mi’kmaq Nation, New Brunswick, on the north side of the Little Southwest Miramichi River across from the present Mi’kmaq community. It includes a circular ritual site surrounding a slightly elevated burial mound that sits on low terrace near the junction of the Northwest and Little Southwest Miramichi Rivers. Augustine Mound National Historic Site of Canada is located 700 metres east of the Oxbow National Historic Site of Canada.

Heritage Value

Augustine Mound was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1975 because
- this site is an exceptional and enduring expression of Mi’kmaw spirituality, exhibiting burial rituals and artifacts directly connected to Adena traditions in eastern North America 2500 years ago.

The heritage value of Augustine Mound NHSC lies in its longstanding connection to a distinctive religious phenomenon rarely seen in eastern Canada, and in its longstanding connection with spiritual and community life in Mi’kmaq culture as illustrated by its setting, site, form and composition, the nature of the archaeological evidence its mound contains, and in its long term role as a sacred site.

Augustine Mound National Historic Site is a ceremonial burial mound created around 2,500 years ago. It is an eastern manifestation of the Adena burial tradition centred in the Ohio Valley. The site consists of a circular area approximately 30 m. in diameter centred on a low mound, surrounded by a circular ceremonial area. It contains human remains and archaeological artifacts. Originally excavated in 1975-76, only part of the mound remains undisturbed. This is in the form of two perpendicular ridges (baulks) in the form of a cross centred on the mound. Oriented to the cardinal directions, each baulk is approximately 1 metre wide and 10-11 metres long and rises from ground level to a height of 0.5 metre in the centre. The centre portion of the mound was disturbed just prior to the archaeological work. The site retains a spiritual significance and ritual place in the life of the Mi’kmaq community.

Source: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, November 1975; Commemorative Integrity Statement, 2004.

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements contributing to the heritage value of this site include:
- evidence of its association with a significant burial tradition from the Ohio Valley, including materials from that area placed in the burial mound;
- the range of rare, perishable artifacts preserved in the mound which relate to Aboriginal culture 2500 years ago;
- its proximity to Oxbow National Historic Site of Canada;
- its continued use as a ritual site by the Mi’kmaq people;
- the mound’s circular footprint and low gradually rising profile;
- the presence of a longstanding defined ritual area surrounding the mound;
- the form, extent and material of the baulk cross;
- the original fabric of the mound’s construction;
- the temporal, spatial, material, functional and cultural links between evidence removed from the mound and the lowest layers of evidence on the adjacent Oxbow site;
- the continued relationship of artifacts removed during investigation to the site.




Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Historic Sites and Monuments Act

Recognition Type

National Historic Site of Canada

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Philosophy and Spirituality

Function - Category and Type


Religion, Ritual and Funeral
Aboriginal Ritual Site


Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

National Historic Sites Directorate, Canadian Inventory of Historic Building Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 525, 25 Eddy Street, Hull, Quebec.

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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