Esquimalt Harbour dredging unearths thousands of artefacts

Image: Times Colonist/Darren Stone
Image: Times Colonist/Darren Stone

Dredging work at the former British Royal Navy dockyard at Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Esquimalt in British Columbia has unexpectedly turned up over 2,000 historical artefacts with some pieces dating from as early as the mid-nineteenth century.

The artefacts were of a widely diverse assortment that included naval shipboard crests, glass medicine jars, clay smoking pipes, ceramic beer bottles, and a gas mask believed to have been manufactured during World War II.

The items were discovered during the federal government’s ongoing removal of over 110,000 cubic metres of contaminated bottom material from Esquimalt Harbour, a project that began in 2016 and is expected to be completed next year. The dredging was approved after studies confirmed that the marine food chain was being adversely affected by the contaminants present in the harbour.

Officials at CFB Esquimalt have been coordinating with the Royal BC Museum regarding the custody of the discovered items.

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