By Tristan Marks
Those driving past Nelles Road on Grimsby’s Main Street East may have noticed a crew digging up carefully marked off sections on the Grout Nelles House property starting on Monday, Sept. 23.
Archaeologists are excavating parts of the property as part of a Stage 3 archaeological assessment.
This was prompted when a surface survey in stage two discovered some artifacts that dated to between 1840-1890.
“Right now, we’re doing a more in-depth survey to find out the nature of the site,” said Shane McCartney, one of the consultant archaeologists working on the site.
His company, Earthworks Archaeological Services, was hired to perform these assessments by Homes by DeSantis, the firm planning to develop the site. The Planning Act requires archaeological assessments in advance of most major industrial and housing subdivisions and infrastructure projects.
As of Monday, the team had already unearthed a collection 19th century artifacts, including fragments from ironstone china plates from c.1869, earthenware ceramics and machine cut nails dating to 1810-1900. The assessment could move to Stage 4, should 80 per cent of the test sites contain artifacts that date to before 1870.
In that stage, the Ministry of Tourism and Culture could begin implementing conservation strategies to protect the site’s cultural heritage value while development proceeds around it.
McCartney said the decision to move to a Stage 4 assessment would require cooperation between the government and the developer.
“We’ll be working with the ministry and the developer to see if further work is needed,” he said.
The Grout House was originally built in 1865 by James Willison Grout Nelles, the grandson of William Nelles who owned much of what would become modern Grimsby.
The home received heritage building status in 2012.