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Crystal Crescent Archaeological Site, Borden Number BcCv-01 to 03

Crystal Crescent Provincial Park, Sambro, Nova Scotia, B3V, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1989/12/31

A conjectural floor plan based on comparison of excavation drawings to an extant house, which was moved from Cootes Cove to Sambro Creek in 1866.; Laird Niven, 1997
Conjectural Floor Plan of a Coote Cove Dwelling
Pantry area of the dwelling partially excavated at Coote Cove in 2000.; Laird Niven, 2000
Partial Excavation of Pantry area BcCv-2, 2000
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Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2007/01/30

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Crystal Crescent Archaeological Site, Borden Number BcCv-01 to 03, first archaeologically surveyed in 1990, is situated within the boundaries of Crystal Crescent Beach Provincial Park. The site contains approximately 27 features, mostly cellar depressions, associated with the late 18th century to early 20th century Nova Scotian fishing village of Cootes Cove. The site also contains a pre-contact component from the middle Maritime Woodland Period (500-2500 BP).

Heritage Value

Crystal Crescent Archaeological Site, with its undeveloped setting and uncorrupted original context, is valued as one of only two 19th century fishing settlements that have been archaeologically investigated in Nova Scotia, and is also valued as a rare example of a Maritime Woodland Period pre-contact native site.

Although there are many abandoned settlements throughout Nova Scotia, there is little in the provincial archaeological record pertaining to them. Approximately 27 features associated with the abandoned fishing village of Cootes Cove have been identified within Crystal Crescent Beach Provincial Park. Excavations, thus far, have identified two of the features as the sites of early 19th century dwellings. Excavations have revealed some key architectural features, and show the dwellings to most likely have been "Hall and Parlour" houses comprised of two main sections divided by a central hearth. A privy and midden found in close proximity to one dwelling feature may yield further insights into the lifeways of the people who lived there.

Artifacts dating from the middle Maritime Woodland Period have also been found in soil disturbed at the time of settlement. Coastal pre-contact sites from any period are rare in Nova Scotia as they are being rapidly eroded by rising sea levels. This site holds the potential to provide insight into both historic and pre-contact period settlement and lifeways.

Sources: Archaeological Survey of Sandy Bay Provincial Park, Cole Harbour Day Use Park and Crystal Crescent Beach Provincial Park - 1990, S. Powell, Nova Scotia Museum; The Coote Cove Archaeology Project 1997, L. Niven, Heritage Research Permit A1997NS43, Preliminary Report J.L. Ilsley High School Archaeological Field School Coote Cove October 1998, K. Cottreau-Robins, Heritage Research Permit A1998NS41; Coote Cove Archaeology, 1999 Preliminary Report, L. Niven, Heritage Research Permit A1999NS53; and Coote Cove Archaeology Project 2000 Preliminary Report, L. Niven, Heritage Research Permit A2000NS38.

Character-Defining Elements

The heritage value of the Crystal Crescent Archaeological Site resides in the following character-defining elements:
- the site in its undeveloped setting overlooking two small sand beaches;
- those elements shown by archaeological excavation to be related to Cootes Cove fishing village;
- those elements shown by archaeological excavation to be related to pre-contact occupation;
- those artifacts which are in storage; and
- any other yet-to-be identified features or artifacts related to the historic or pre-contact period occupation of Cootes Cove.



Nova Scotia

Recognition Authority

Province of Nova Scotia

Recognition Statute

Special Places Protection Act

Recognition Type

Special Place

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1794/01/01 to 1910/01/01
1990/01/01 to 1990/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Hunting and Gathering
Peopling the Land
Peopling the Land
Canada's Earliest Inhabitants

Function - Category and Type



Undetermined (archaeological site)
Buried Site

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History, 1747 Summer Street, Halifax, NS B3H 3A6

Cross-Reference to Collection

Collections Unit, Nova Scotia Museum, Summer Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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