sequel to: "A Special Episode of Extreme Real World Travel"
and: "Extreme Real World Travel: Belize"
"Good evening, and welcome to a very unusual Two Hour Episode of Extreme Real World Travel. I am Chris Hagel, one of your hosts. And today, I am standing alongside Route Thirty, also known as the Cabot Trail Road, in Canada. Behind me you can see the waters of Ingonish Harbour, with the town just beyond through the trees. To my right is the Ingonish River. When we return, we'll be just upriver from the bridge where our road crosses the river, and we'll meet some old friends and settle a debate that has totally occupied both our show's website and all of its social media accounts for the last year."
The camera panned around the inlet.
"And cut, insert commercial here, as it were." Kenda said to the air around them.
"We're out," Andrew responded.
"So, you still remember how to do this," she kidded him.
"Just like you." He lowered the camera, "Why did you come back?"
"I was promised an unlimited supply of local wine."
She laughed at him, "I was kidding, I like doing this. And I was getting bored with news. Why are you here? Tired of car parts?"
"I've been doing their commercials," he shrugged, "I had a lot of vacation coming, and I've never been to Newfoundland."
"Sorry, we're in Nova Scotia."
"I've never been there either."
"Hello and Welcome to Nova Scotia," Cheryl smiled into the camera. "As you can see, we are along the shores of the Ingonish River, just up river from the Cape Smokey Ski facility. And just over the river you can see our six returning explorers from St. Louis, and six new explorers who are also from St. Louis." The camera cut to the large group of people standing in a clearing on the other side of the river. "Our new friends are a group who have been chosen to compete with our returning explorers in an effort to finally declare a winner."
Cheryl was back in front of the camera, but it was Cheryl with sand in her hair and dirt on her face in Kyrgyzstan several years ago, but the audio was brand new. "You may well remember our adventure in Asia a few seasons ago which ended up with our explorers taking a slight detour as guests of the Chinese military." The view switched to the Explorer's passing through the gates at the high pass at Torugart.
Then the camera changed to Cheryl in the jungle with a tree full of monkeys over her while she tried to do a shot to camera. "And, of course, you'll recognize the exceptional program where those same Explorers added significantly to the sum total of knowledge about the Mayan civilization in Central America."
The view changed to the Explorers finding several objects in an ancient grave. Then it cut to the curator of the National Museum of Belize saying, "This is a national treasure."
"On both episodes our Explorers performed amazingly, but, as many of you have pointed out from the other episodes, there was no winner declared from our challenges, and, in Belize, the challenges were deemed irrelevant to the anthropology we were all involved in." Now the view showed Cheryl holding a light over a set of glyphs carved into a stone so the camera could get a good view of it.
"Let's meet our new Explorers and learn of their relationship to our returning couples."
"Hi. I'm Scott and this is my fiancee Emmy. I'm Jimmy and Anne's son." The young couple were sitting at a picnic table outside the group of small cabins the show was using not far from the site on the river.
"Hello," Emmy said, "It's fun being here, but I'm not sure how much help I'm going to be. I've seen the shows they were in, and I've never done anything like that. I wasn't even in the Girl Scouts."
"You'll do fine," Scott said.
"Yes, I'm sure you will." Cheryl said, then continued, "Scott, tell us what you said when your folks came home from Belize and told you that they didn't win."
He laughed and looked off to one side where they were standing, "I said 'anybody could win those challenges, why couldn't you?'. I guess we'll find out."
"Yes, you will."
Cheryl was now at the table with another pair of young explorers. "This is Lana's younger sisters Misti, as she likes to be called, and Chantal who appreciated some of the souvenirs they got after the trip to China. One of those being a survival tool that clips on the lanyard of a backpack with multiple small blades and a screwdriver built in."
The young women were smiling broadly, it was Chantal who spoke first, "I had no idea what to do with it, so it went in my makeup case. But I found out that it is the best thing ever for opening the packages that new cosmetics come in."
"Which of you had to talk the other into agreeing to come out with us?"
They exchanged one of those looks only sisters seem to share, Misti answered, "We talked it over and decided to do it together. I mean really, if Lana could do it, we knew we could. And we're going to win."
"Jack and Bobbi's daughter Kate brought her husband Alex, and, if my information is correct, you made an announcement a few months ago that made Jack dance."
She smiled broadly and gripped Alex's hand tightly, "We're pregnant."
"But her doctor said she'll be fine as long as we don't have to drink fermented horse milk."
Cheryl chuckled, "as we're in the Canadian Maritimes, that shouldn't be a problem, but I can't promise that poutine won't be on the lunch menu."
"We had that last night, they made it with lobster, it was wonderful," Kate said enthusiastically.
"That's the dish with cheese curds and gravy served over fries. It's the biggest mess ever to eat, but I will tell you that it is absolutely delicious. I'll make sure you get some more," Cheryl said to the expectant mother, "and now, we'll check in with our original Explorers. First we'll speak to the new grandparents to be, Bobbi and dancing Jack."
"Of course we were worried about Kate making the trip. But she wouldn't be denied," Bobbi said.
"And she promised that if she felt ill she'd get somebody to take her back to the hotel or to a doctor." Jack added.
"And, for our viewers, Mr. Hagal has located no fewer than three local doctors who will see Kate, or any of us for that matter, either in their office or at the cabins where we're staying."
"Yeah, about that," Jack said, "Hagal said we're going to be staying here at night instead of camping out?"
"That's part of our agreement with the provincial government, that we wouldn't camp except in designated campgrounds. As there is only one, and it is a considerable distance upriver, we've hired the vacation cottages down the road from the ski resort."
"Our second set of returning explorers is Sean and Lana."
"Hey!" Sean said as the camera settled on them.
"It's good to see you. How's the foot?"
Sean moved his left leg out away from the table. On his foot was a walking boot. "It's doing OK. But they said I'll be in this for another three weeks."
"So, we have Kate with her good news and you with bad news, but we have physicians on standby just in case we need them."
Lana nodded, "Tell her when you did it."
Sean shifted on his seat, "The day after we got our tickets for Halifax, I was getting our suitcases out from under the bed and twisted my foot funny getting up. It's just a cracked bone and a couple of strained ligaments. I'll be OK. I wasn't going to miss this for something like that. But what are we going to do?"
"We've got one more couple to meet, then we'll find out."
"And this is Anne and Jimmy. Back together for another adventure."
They glanced at each other, then she spoke, "We like doing this together."
"We're still friends. We went to my Christmas party together."
"And Emmy's engagement party, Emmy and Scott's party."
Jimmy shook his head, "She's almost adopted Emmy, but Scott is our son."
"Emmy is a wonderful girl. But she's never really understood what we've done on the show." She grinned, "Sometimes I don't either."
Cheryl laughed at that, "You're not the only one who doesn't understand this show," she smiled broadly at the camera, "especially with this group of Explorers. But now, we're going to catch a ride up river and find out why we are all on Cape Breton Island, just south of the National Park."
One thing that had changed with the show was the number of support staff they brought in to deal with twice as many Explorers as usual. Besides more cameras and sound equipment, they also had to have more food, more of everything. So now, Kendra and Andrew had been promoted, if that is the word, to associate producers. She got the cast, he got the crew with his focus being on making sure at least one of the seven total camera and sound crews were somewhere around their assigned team of Explorers at all times. It would also mean they had several times the video footage to go through while deciding what made it into the show and what didn't, it was something Andrew was not looking forward to, although he had made Mr. Hagal promise a never ending supply of strong coffee, cold beer, and deli sandwiches while they waded through all of it after the field work was done.
Kenda, for her part, loved having more people to work with. She had already updated her resume with the new title and was ready to add some clips from the show to her video portfolio as she eyed future television assignments.
"You are having way too much fun with this," Charlie, another veteran of shows with this cast said to her as they loaded up a selection of four wheel drive trucks to head up to the jumping off point along the river.
Kenda nodded, "Yes, I Am," she answered emphatically, then she pushed the case of supplies onto one of the open farm wagons towed behind trucks and tractors that would take them to the site and looked at him, "Something wrong with that?"
"No, ma'am. Just an observation."
This time out Mr. Hagal was the Executive Producer. Which meant he had less hands on work with the camera crews and Explorers and was more of the Ringmaster, as he put it. He knew Kenda and Andrew were excellent at their assignments, so he could concentrate more on the overall presentation and general theme of the show while they made it happen.
But it also meant he had to keep track of the entire circus, including the local drivers and grips he'd hired to move this lot to where they needed to be. And he also was the contact person for the people from Screen Nova Scotia who had been approved by the Provincial Government to represent the interest of the citizens of the Province in the matter.
Camera Seven got a tight shot of Mr. Hagal and Mr. and Mrs. Pubnico in deep discussion of some aspect of the show.
Later, the production team included a brief segment of the Pubnico's explaining that while most of their families were to be found in on the Southern Island, they had made their home and their livelihood in the North, and had raised several children, on Breton Island.
"Yes, we are Acadian, but we are also Nova Scotians, and now, we are New Bretons. And this is Corporal Smith from Prince Edward. He's here from the RCMP to provide security."
Cheryl held the microphone for the Corporal, "If you would please, tell our audience what your role is."
"Salut," the Corporal said, "I am here from the station at Inverness, Nova Scotia. I was assigned to ensure that the production and those associated with it observe the laws of Canada and this Province. And that includes respect for the environment and any artifacts uncovered."
Mr. Hagal was standing next to the river, "As the Corporal said, we are here, and we are indeed looking for artifacts. But they are very special artifacts, and, the bottom line is, there really may not be any artifacts to find. But we'll see. To explain is Doctor Arsenault from the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology at Dalhousie University in Halifax."
The Doctor nodded several times, then spoke, "Recently there have been LIDAR studies of the north shores of Nova Scotia, just as there have been of Newfoundland, searching for indigenous settlements as well as Norse and early French and English settlements that have been previously undocumented. It is your program's work with the Mayan sites in Belize that led us to the idea of having this group of individuals and your program to possibly come here to assist in our search for these sites. Perhaps these locations are historically significant, and perhaps not. It will be interesting to see what can be found in the ground on Breton Island."
2. "Why are there Vikings coming?"
The two groups of Explorers were standing in the clearing next to the river when something caught their attention from the other side of the clearing.
The three people approaching them were all dressed in outfits familiar to anybody who watches TV, with a significant difference, these outfits were far more authentic than something from Central Casting. They are also a lot taller and more muscular than most of the explorers.
"They're Vikings," one of the new Explorers whispered, "why are there Vikings coming?"
The three stopped walking and stood proudly, then the man spoke in a totally unfamiliar language, but the younger woman translated for him.
"We are the Hastain, a Norse family. My father's father was born in Iceland to a family of the original families." She said after he spoke. Then he spoke for himself in English.
"We were asked to come speak to you of how our ancestors may have come here and why." He said. "My wife, Astrid, will continue."
Astrid was very nearly as tall as her husband, and had arms that today spoke of an athletic youth, in costume, it implied she was at least the equal in battle to any peasant man she came up against.
"Well over a thousand years ago our people were living and working in Greenland. There was a colony up the coast from here in L'Anse aux Meadows on the northern tip of Newfoundland Island near Saint Anthony. Many of our people believe it was what Gardar and the other settlements in Greenland were. As was Iceland before it. An outpost, a stepping stone for further exploration." She nodded to her daughter, "And now Revna will tell you how this island, what some later called New Scotland, comes into play."
Revna stepped forward and stood proudly for a moment. "A couple of years ago, a researcher scanned the coastal area of New Brunswick looking for clues for what is called the Money Pit on Oak Island which is south of Halifax. He thought that perhaps whoever dug that hole would have been based somewhere along the coast. Since then, his LIDAR images have been released to the University, and we have begun looking for other features revealed in those scans. My father, who has taken the Norse name Harald, will explain." She stood tall for a moment, then stepped back.
"Góðan daginn." He said dramatically in the old language. Then he continued in English, "Astrid works with Doctor Arsenault in Halifax at the University's Social Anthropology Department. As I have been working with the National Park for several years, I became, what the old ones would say was their praell, or what you would call a thrall, to guide them to the sites that were visible on the LIDAR." He turned to Astrid.
"I don't dress like this at work, usually," she said before she continued. "And now, I would like to introduce my department chair, Doctor Arsenault, and a two of his friends from the Grand Council of the Mi'kmaw Nation, one of Canada's First Peoples."
The representatives of the native group stepped forward as the professor introduced them, then they spoke carefully in English.
"You are here because you demonstrated care and concern for the relics of another Ancient Peoples in Belize, and in China. You respect the history of those that came before. You will be permitted to inspect the sites the Doctor has found and determine if they were Norse," the speaker nodded to the Vikings who nodded back, "or our own or related peoples who were here before. Or the English or French or others who came later."
Then the other Native spoke, "The others include later Norman fishermen who may have even gotten as far south as the Bay of Fundy or Long Island Sound fishing the Grand Banks. Of the French, those who are desecrating Oak Island believe the Knights Templar were there. My good friend Revna has papers for you that have samples of the written languages of our own people who had a beautiful written script long ago, and runes from the Norse and the Templars and others in case you find something from them."
As they spoke, the young Viking woman walked through the groups of Explorers and passed out copies of a binder with several sheets in it.
The first native spoke again, "As Saeesha said, the l'nuk, what you call the Mi'kmaw know that you, and the production you work for, respect the land and its peoples. That while you are entertaining the people that watch, you are also educating them. As you did with the Maya, that now they know that that great nation of old was even greater. Perhaps you will find evidence of the greatness of our peoples, or the Norse. And you will honor those that came before as you do so."
Then Doctor Arsenault addressed the group. "A light luncheon has been prepared in the clearing behind us. We'll show you some of the artifacts that have been found throughout this area, as well as the scans that we'll be working from. Then. Mr. Hagal, will explain your roles in all this."
Jack sighed, "Well, at least we're not meeting their Vice President or something."
Jimmy and Sean chuckled, "give them a chance, he's probably in the other clearing," Sean whispered to him.
"Don't say that."
It wasn't the 'Vice President', but it was a very old woman from their Grand Council. She didn't do a lot of talking, but did nod and smile and seemed to be happy to meet everybody.
Then Mr. Hagal was on, "This mission is different from either of your former outings. First, we don't know what we're looking for, it may be Native, Viking, Templar, or Colonial, or even natural and not man made at all. Second, there may not be anything at any of the three sites the doctor has picked for our examination. And third. You're not going home until we can declare a winner."
3. "There's a hole in the mud."
While they ate their way through the spread of local foods, the older Mi'kmaq woman had Saeesha and Revna bring Kate to her, then she proceeded to make a speech in her own tongue as Saeesha translated for her.
"She says you are a blessing to your family and you have a blessing to come," Saeesha said to Kate.
"But how did she know?"
"She is what you might call the Great Grandmother of my people. She is a wise woman and a seer. She knows many things that nobody told her. But she listens to the spirits, and they know."
The old woman spoke again in her home tongue and the younger Mi'kmaq woman told Kate what she said. "Your baby will be healthy and have great musical talent. And will come back down to Enmigtaqamu'g, that's the main island, to speak to my people, as an adult."
Kate nodded at the old woman and thanked her for what she had said.
On her way back to the group she asked Cheryl who had told her she was pregnant.
"Nobody, we didn't even know she was coming. They said she asked them last night to bring her here to meet the Americans. She had no way of knowing who was coming as far as we know."
Kate looked back at the old lady who was now singing along with a recorded native song. "I don't want to know any more about it."
For the show, Andrew and the other video camera operators recorded the various explorers checking out the maps and LIDAR images and looking at the various artifacts.
Doctor Arsenault was wearing exam gloves and holding a wicked looking spear point. "This is a fine example of what you may encounter," the camera zoomed in on the item while he turned it slowly in his hands. "This is a fire hardened deer bone harpoon point that was found on a beach on Boularderie Island, southeast of here." He held it so the camera could record where it had been attached to a shaft. "There was enough of the wood here that we could identify the type of tree, and get a date range on it. It was white ash, a type of tree found throughout the region, and was probably made around five to six hundred years ago. But we have no idea who made it. But they hunted deer and then used the bones to make a harpoon for fishing. That requires a good deal of sophistication."
When they returned from a commercial break Mr. Hagal was in front of a large board with the names of the two groups of explorers below two words written in Runes.
"The words mean, basically, 'the Old Hands', and 'the Newcomers'." Mr. Hagal said.
"Then why are we the OLD Hands?" Jack spouted.
"I can think of other things to call you," Mr. Hagal answered.
"Well, OK, ahh, I'm good with Old Hands."
"That's all that counts. You'll see in your packets there are highlighted areas here for you to investigate, one just down river from here, the other not far up the river on the other side. You'll stake them out and get an initial evaluation today, then tomorrow morning we'll come back here and you'll do more excavating and sampling." Also tomorrow, we'll have two crews from the University to assist you. They will have more specialized investigative equipment so we can make the most of our time here."
"What are they bringing?" Jimmy asked.
"And who are they?" Anne added.
Mr. Hagal turned to the professor for that answer.
"The crews are students and volunteers and each is headed up by one of my graduate students. Each crew will have everything from deep probing metal detectors to ground penetrating radar. The understanding is that they will use the specialized equipment, you all will do the digging."
"Cool," Jimmy answered, "I'm good at digging."
Later, at the site some distance down the river from the clearing the Old Hands were trying to compare the highlighted rectangles on their map with the reality on the riverbank.
They were all looking at their topographical maps and the LIDAR projection on a aerial photographs.
"All right," Bobbi said, "there's a big depression near the river." She pointed to a series of small circles on her topographical map.
Jack and Sean were walking along the riverbank.
"There's a hole in the mud right here," Sean said looking at exactly that.
"A big hole," Jack added trying to guess its size. "Maybe, what? Ten, twelve feet across?"
"Fifteen," Sean offered. "And pretty deep." He added as he verified that it was.
"I don't see anything else like it."
"OK, I think that means we're right here." She pointed at the map, "And that is the first feature we should check out."
Up where it was drier Lana had one observation, "You got mud all over your walking boot, and you."
Sean looked up, but kept wading into the leaf covered muck, "Yeah, but it'll be worth it if we actually find something. And I've got a backup boot. When we get back to the cabin I'll wash this one and wear the other one tomorrow."
Jack was right beside him, already in deeper, now up to his knees. "What is this thing?" wondered out loud. "Why would you dig a big hole in a river bank?"
"I don't know, maybe to pull a boat in and load it from up there. And over the years, it's just filled up with mud."
"OK. We'll keep going."
Charlie followed them partway in with his camera, another cameraman recorded the festivities from up on top. But then he became part of the show as the cameraman up on top got one step too close to the edge and slid halfway down the steep side of the hole when the ground under his feet crumbled.
"Hey!" Terry shouted as he tried to keep the camera and himself out of the wet muck below, but he only succeeded in sliding further down in his own private landslide.
"Hang on, we'll get you." Jack and Sean shouted.
Lana had run to the edge and tried to reach him from above, but he was too far down and the edge under her began to crumble as well. Bobbi had to help her back up from the precipice.
Charlie got good video of the Explorers rescuing his comrade, and his camera. Succeeding in getting all three of them pretty well covered with wet mud and leaves. But the camera was still high and dry, mostly.
"You OK? Let's get out of here," Sean said holding Terry's hand as he found the bottom and could walk.
"You take him out, I want to look at where he slid down. I thought I saw something in the side."
"I'm OK now, thanks." He checked the camera. "It's fine too. While we're here, let's see if he found something."
"You found it, whatever it is," Jack said and gingerly worked up the loose soil to peer at the dirt in the bank.
Terry, proving he was a professional, used Sean's hand to brace himself while he got a good shot of Jack inching his way up.
Charlie on the other side of the depression chuckled to himself and caught it all in a wide shot.
"It's a tree root. A really big, and really dead one." Jack said, then pointed, "There's another one."
"That's what this was then, where a big tree died and fell in the river. Ages ago."
"Probably. I think we should still have them check it out tomorrow with the sensor thing. But I don't think we need to mark it with the flags."
"That's a good idea. Let them get all muddy," Jack said as he worked his way back down.
"But it was fun," Terry said as he got a good shot of where he had come down quickly.
"When you're done fooling around, we think we found something over here," Anne shouted down to them.
The four guys scrambled back up the bank and spent some time stomping their feet and slapping at the mud and leaves on their pants. Then they followed Anne and Jimmy to where they'd been working.
"It's a stone foundation," Jimmy said to them as they got close to another area highlighted on their map.
"Yeah, but whose?" Lana said with her arms out trying to judge the size of the structure, "is it big enough to be a house?"
The rough cut stones were still arranged in something of a rectangle. Then there was a smaller area built onto one side.
"I don't know, but this could have been a hearth. Or maybe something else." Lana said as they cleared away years of leaves and sticks. There was evidence that some of the local critters thought the old stonework was a fine place to set up housekeeping of their own.
"We need to mark it and have that professor check it tomorrow." Jimmy took a flag on a long metal rod out the the bundle and put one in a corner of the foundation, then he did it again at another corner.
"Yeah, there's something else over there on the map," Bobbi circled the foundation on the map then pointed off into the bushes.
On the other side of the river things were less muddy, but no less entertaining with the Newcomers.
"What?" Scott asked.
Emmy was backing up slowly, pulling at a vine that acted like it wanted to come home with her. "Thorns."
Their camera person had found the same sort of vine while trying to get the shot of Emmy fighting with her vine.
"These things are wicked," Pat said as she tried to keep them in the picture but get it off of her legs.
Scott worked his girlfriend loose, then he helped Pat. "Thanks," she said, "but we're supposed to be invisible and not part of the story."
Emmy was dabbing at a spot on Pat's arm with a tissue, "Then stay out of the sticker bushes," she held the tissue still for a second. "And stop bleeding."
"I'll try," she looked at her arm.
"Here's where the LIDAR map says there's something to check out," Alex called out staring at the image and pointing this way and that.
Kate was comparing the aerial map to the real world, "It should be around here somewhere."
Misti was walking along not far from where Alex was standing, "Does it look like a big concrete circle?"
"Well, maybe," he answered.
"Good, I found it." She put a flag by where she was walking. "I'll see where it goes."
Her sister was walking the other way around the circle, but then it ended. "There's a gap here. I'll mark it." She put her flag in the ground where it stopped, then began looking for where it picked up.
The others fanned out through the area looking for another spot that was marked on the map. According to the scale, it should be about ten to twelve meters almost due south, away from the river.
"It should be," Emmy said, "right here. Right?"
Scott was waving a stick through the undergrowth. Then it 'thunked' against something solid. "It is."
"What did you find?"
"I don't know yet. But I think it's big."
Back at the circle they'd marked it in several places, and found that there had been something at the center that had also been made of concrete. They staked it all out and tried to figure out why somebody would build a three quarter or so circle of smooth concrete as wide as a sidewalk, there. The clue was on the 'sidewalk', it looked like something used to run around on it.
While they were walking around, they found smaller 'walks' in between the outer circle and the center. Some were longer, some shorter, but all were about the same width. And the innermost went all the way around the center.
"I guess we've got our work cut out for us tomorrow," Alex said as they looked at the flags they'd scattered around the feature.
Chantal nodded, "That's why we're here. I just hope we win the challenge."
"I forgot about that, I was so busy trying to think what this could be I forgot this was a contest."
Misti was shaking her head, "But I don't think this is from the Vikings or the Indians."
Kate was more positive, "Well, whatever it is, we've found it, and it's got to be worth something."
Alex finally agreed then he began looking for the next feature on the maps.
"Hey guys, we've got stones. And a lot of them." Scott called to the group in the circle.
"What kind of stones?"
They spread out and began marking large rocks and groups of smaller ones that appeared to be scattered throughout the area south of the circle apparently at random. But then they began to notice that there was something of a system to them.
"Well," Ales said, "now we've got two mysteries to solve. Why a big circle and why a bunch of piles of rocks?"
They stood and looked at the spread of flags they'd put on the larger collections of stones.
"I think I know what it was," Emmy said. They all looked at her, "Some sort of production center, maybe like a sawmill or something. These out here were where they stacked the logs or whatever, and that's where they did whatever work they were doing to them."
The others looked back and forth, "Makes sense. Which means it was probably Colonial." Alex answered.
"That's not what we're looking for, but let's hope it's good enough."
Back downriver the Old Hands were staking out another selection of stones.
Anne was trying to draw it out on one of the maps, "It's not a foundation, or a fence, or anything else that I can see."
"There's more over here," Jack called and pointed with a handful of the marker flags.
"And I got one here," Sean added.
"It's huge," Bobbi said. "Are you sure this isn't natural?"
"No. But we'll find out tomorrow."
"Speaking of that, when are we supposed to head back?"
They all looked at each other, then Charlie held up his hand and everybody looked at him. "They were going to call on the radio about three thirty."
"It's only two," Jack said, "let's find something else."
"There's something over there on the map," Bobbi said and pointed off to the north.
4. "Meanwhile back at the camp, Kate has her gravy mess."
"Our transports are on their way, so we'll go ahead and have our post action discussion," Mr. Hagal said to them after they gathered around the original clearing and quieted down. "First, the newcomers. Rumor has it that you found a large concrete work."
Now, faced with delivering a report on what they'd discovered to the entire group, and multiple cameras, Alex and the others were suddenly bashful.
"Well? Somebody tell us about it."
"I'll go," Misti said. "It showed up on the LIDAR diagram as a crescent. And it was right where the map said it was. An old concrete path about this wide," she held her hand out about shoulder width apart, "and it curved around. Almost a complete circle."
That got Alex going, "Yes, and in the center was a circle. It's cracked in a couple of places, but you could see that it was round when it was poured."
Misti nodded enthusiastically, "There were several rings around the center," she gestured with her hands, "all the same size."
"And a lot of it was so overgrown you could feel it under your feet but you couldn't see it unless you moved the weeds," Chantal added.
"And there was the big stones as well," Mr. Hagal prompted.
"Yes," Scott answered but didn't elaborate so Emmy took over for him.
"There were so many rocks that we lost count. Some of them were big stones, others were smaller rocks cemeted together. We could see where some of them had had wooden beams across to hold something. But we'll have to go back over it to see if there's anything else left."
Mr. Hagal nodded, "And so you shall. Tomorrow morning. And now, let's hear from the Old Hands."
After the debriefing, they all walked through the woods to a narrow dirt road, where they boarded the same wagons and trucks that had brought them there earlier.
"Breakfast will be at six AM. We'll leave to come back up here at seven. So you'll need to be up and ready early. If you're late, you'll have to walk up here, or pay somebody to drive you."
They all looked at Mr. Hagal with disbelief.
"I know that's early, but we'll need the entire day for our work up here."
"Will the students be here that early?" somebody asked from off camera.
"They should be."
"Well. OK. We'll do it."
There was the usual 'camp silliness' as Sean tried to wash caked and dried mud out of his boot, and Jack made a show of hosing his pants off, as well as a running commentary that accompanied the preparation of their evening meal from an Acadian chef who was telling them about the ingredients and the history of the dishes, in French, English, and some Cajun they had last heard in Belize.
Cheryl was going to do a short piece to camera when she was interrupted from just off to one side, "Meanwhile, back at the camp, Kate has her gravy mess."
Everybody laughed as she turned to glare at Scott, "do you want to do this?"
"You're doing fine," he muttered.
Then she was able to deliver her update to camera.
After supper there was a bit of entertainment with a native children's group performing several songs and a brief skit that re-enacted a version of the negotiations between English loyalists and French speaking residents during the resettlement period after the War of American Succession. Evidently, the colonial era negotiations included several songs and a group dance, or at least it should have.
"Very good, thank you, thank you," Cheryl said to the children after their finale. "Now, we must all turn in because tomorrow is going to be a very long day of exploration."
The sun was barely lighting the common area between the cabins when Andrew got a good shot of Sean putting his walking boot on.
"So how sore is it today?" He asked Sean.
"Not bad. I expected it to be a lot more swollen and hurt like the dickens, but it's OK." He tightened the straps on his boot, "I think I'm ready for it."
They were just finishing up the shot when a large SUV followed a small car into the compound and a couple of young people got out.
"Is this the Explorer's TV show?" The driver of the car asked them.
"Good!" She responded and shouted to the truck that they were in the right place.
"Well. We do have enough breakfast for everybody," Mr. Hagal said into his phone, then he looked at the group of students, "we'll bring them and their gear with us at seven." Then he hung up, "Doctor Arsenault wants us to feed you, then take you with us."
The driver of the SUV raised his hand.
"This isn't a classroom, you can speak without permission."
"Is it OK if I follow you in this? It's got most of our stuff in it. Susan can leave her car here if she can ride with you."
"Sure. All right. Good, breakfast is over there," Mr. Hagal said and led them to the building where the meal was being prepared.
An hour later they transferred some equipment out of the back of the small hatchback car onto one of the wagons, then the parade headed along the highway toward the bridge where they'd turn up the barely marked dirt trail toward their base for the work.
"You're awful quiet this morning," somebody said to Jack.
"Not awake yet," he answered and sipped at his tumbler. "We should have brought more coffee."
5. "... this is epic."
"All right. Good Morning Explorers. As most of you have already met our co-workers for today we'll just do a brief review of the procedures for the investigations, and I'll remind you that this is the first of three challenges that will determine the over all winner. Whoever discovers the most historically interesting and important artifacts will be declared the winner of each. Best of three, with one possible tie breaker if it ends up a draw after the three."
Anne looked a bit skeptical, "You're really serious about having a winner this time."
"Very." He answered, "and we will."
The graduate students checked their clipboards and assigned their helpers to bring different instruments, then the Old Hands and the Newcomers picked up the other tools and gear and they split up to head for their sites with their camera crews leading and following.
The Newcomers got to their two log footbridge over the river and found that it wasn't the way they'd left it. The far end of the nearly four meter long poles had shifted and were now laying in the tidal mud of the riverbank.
"Looks like last night's high tide was a bit much for them," somebody said off camera.
"I think I can make it," Alex said, "Who'll come with me and then we'll help everybody else up."
"You think they're stable?" Scott asked.
"Let's go see," one of the student assistants said.
"OK," Alex said, "you look like the lightest of us, wanna try it out."
"We'll fish you out of the river," Scott laughed to him.
All three of the cameras fanned out for the first drama of the day as the student balanced himself and eased his way out onto the now uneven logs. He got about halfway and bounced up and down on them a little, but the logs didn't move. They were sunk far enough into the muck to anchor them. But the end in the mud was a good meter away from the dry land.
He worked his way to the far end, then jumped onto the bank. "Stay there, I'll be right back."
In a minute he came back with a big handful of sticks and grass and leaves, he dropped them down to where his feet had gotten into the mud, then called for Alex and Scott.
"My idea, I'll go," Alex said and started across. He wasn't as graceful as the student, but he made it.
Scott made it with only a bit of mud on one foot. The three then repeated the student's work with sticks and branches over a lot of grass and leaves to make something of a halfway secure step to the bank. Then Scott eased his way down to help the others from there.
Pat volunteered to take her camera and sound gear across next. But he had the sense to put the camera away and steady himself and concentrate on getting across instead of getting an action shot of the trip over the logs. Then Scott helped her up the bank.
"OK," Pat said once she'd caught his breath. "I'm rolling," he aimed his camera at the next Newcomer to venture across.
Everybody took their time, so nobody got totally wet. Although several did end up in mud over their ankles. But finally they were all across.
"All it cost us was an hour of in site time," Scott said checking his watch.
"But it was so much fun, and we have to go back that way."
Pat shook her head as he caught Emmy's excitement on camera.
The Old Hands were standing over the hole in the bank.
"We think it's what's left from a big tree that fell in ages ago. But we think you should check down there and confirm it."
The graduate student for their team, Sam Boucher, was easing his way down the bank to the opening of the hole. "Well, the scanner is waterproof." He looked up at his two assistants, "All right, I'll run the first sweep, bring me the 200 without the wheels. I'll sit in on a spot and we'll take a picture, then I'll move it. We'll make a big X from here to there and then the other way, and I'll get some pictures as close to the sides as I can get."
Jack volunteered to get down in the hole and help him move the twenty kilo sensor around. One of Sam's assistants would monitor the laptop as it collected the data from the wireless unit down in the hole.
Bobbi helped the student set up a table and then they unpacked the laptop and verified they were getting signal from the sensor unit. "Everything is plugged in, how's it look, Sue?"
The student, peered at the screen, "Susan. I prefer it when I'm working. We've got signal."
Meanwhile, not far from the hole, Jimmy and Anne were laying out a survey grid for the other student, Joy, to run the deep penetrating metal detector over.
"It can discriminate between stuff like wrought iron, steel, bronze and gold. And tell us if what we've found is several small items, like a handful of small buttons, or is one large one, like a horse shoe. And it will tell you how deep it is, down to about three meters, although, at that depth the discrimination gets a little iffy."
Sean and Lana put the wheels and handle on the double beam ground unit as the student put the tablet on a harness so he could see the screen under its sun shield.
"OK, right, let's run a test," the student said. They took a deep breath and pushed it slowly across an area outside the grid. "Looks good. And there is something iron, looks like two nails, down about ten centimeters."
Sean got down on the ground a lot quicker than he got up. But after a couple of minutes of digging he came up with two very rusty and equally ancient square nails. "Bingo."
Lana took the nails and stood up, "That proves it works and it proves we've actually found something."
Joy took the nails and looked at them, "Colonial era, through maybe Nineteen Teens or a bit later if it was a do it yourself farmer." She handed them back to Lana, "put them in a bag and label them and mark this spot on your map."
"OK, let's to move it over there to the other side by the river," Sam said.
Jack tried to find firmer footing then they both moved the brightly colored box toward the river one squishy step at a time.
Up on top Susan and Bobbi were going back through the images they had from the first run. Bobbi was shaking her head, "I don't see anything like those test images you had."
"That's because there's nothing to see. Tree roots and rocks, it all looks natural."
"Should we call them off or make them go through the rest of it?"
"I'm good with them doing it."
The Newcomers were scanning around the piles of stone and the circular paths with the same sorts of instruments. They'd had their first major contact on a spot near the outer circle, several hits for large pieces of steel with the metal detector.
"Hey Mike, I got it," Scott announced laying flat on the ground with one arm deep in the hole they'd dug.
"Almost a full arm's length. That's a meter."
"Close enough for now, can you bring it up?" Mike, the graduate student, asked him.
"I think so, hang on," you could see him working at it, "here it comes." Then he sat up holding a large very rusty piece of flat metal. "It's a saw blade, or part of one anyway. There's more down there, I could feel the edge of another one." He handed it to the student. "It was big."
"Sure is. I am pretty sure the Mi'kmaq had steel sawblades like this after the Colonial period but not before, so it might have been them then. I'm not sure about the Vikings during the later period. Most of their long ships were built in the clinker fashion with riven logs. Some of the newer types were built of sawn boards. A lot depends on the age of the metal and where it was made." He gently put the piece in a bag.
"Clinker? What's a clinker ship?" Scott asked.
"Where the edge of the next row of planks overlaps the edge of the last row," he gestured with his hands. "When you use axe and wedge split hardwood boards it makes a really strong hull that is surprisingly light, but it is still flexible along the length of the ship. You need that in the North Atlantic. I've got a picture on my phone, give me a second." He wiped off his hands and then showed them the picture. "When they were sailing over here, this is the type of boat they used."
"How did they join the boards together?"
"Some of the boards are only a few centimeters thick, an inch or so. So they'd run waterproofing between them, then nail them or some used iron or even brass rivets, or even screws in some cases to fasten them. And once they were in the water and the wood was soaked, it was water tight."
"Amazing," Scott managed to say, then he looked back down in the hole, "let me get that other piece of the blade out of there. Then we can look for more."
Not far from them the other Newcomers were walking along behind the ground penetrating radar rig. Carefully marking anything it found with stakes and flags. Then after several passes and they had a good idea what they were looking for, they'd carefully measure and mark a grid, then slowly remove overgrowth and begin to dig. Doing so, they uncovered a really old axe head deep in the ground, what appeared to be a belt buckle at about the same level, and evidence of modern hunters in the form of the spent casings from a shotgun right at the surface.
By lunch they felt they had something worth reporting and when the radio call came through to report to base to get fed, they did so.
Mr. Hagal and Doctor Arsenault listened to the report from the Newcomers, and then inspected the artifacts they had uncovered, and the Anthropology Professor agreed with his graduate student that the saw blade and axe head did not appear to be of Viking vintage, but it could well be from the Colonial era.
"This appears to be a crosscut saw. Just based on the pieces here, I'd say a two man saw, about two meters long, maybe longer, and it would have handles mounted on each end. Once we get a good image of the tooth pattern we'll know more about who made it and when."
Then the Old Hands made their preliminary report and the handful of artifacts they had uncovered supported the previous conclusion that this area was probably a lumber production site from a few hundred years ago.
"We will have to go through some very old records to verify it, and, of course, test the objects and the soil they were found in," but I do not believe these items are much older than about Seventeen Fifty or so. And while I believe your nails were made locally, perhaps even around here, I am thinking that their saw blade was an import, maybe even brought in from Europe. The belt buckle surely was."
After a hearty lunch worthy of Colonial lumberjacks the teams returned to where they had been working. In an hour or so, Mr. Hagal and Doctor Arsenault made the trek out to observe their progress in person. Mainly because the professor wanted to see the old concrete circles for himself and try to figure out what it was for.
Doctor Arsenault pursed his lips and walked aound Misti and Chantal's circles, "I'm wondering if perhaps they were using the local timber to assemble waterwheels for mills. Then they'd take them apart and ship them to wherever they needed it." He gestured to the positions of the concrete paths, "These are about the right spacing for various size wheels."
He stopped and looked around and then checked out where Misti and Chantal were drawing the feature on a grid paper with various measurements written in.
"But." The Professor continued in a few minutes, "I don't recall ever seeing that sort of work documented anywhere from that period. Of course, not every enterprise was officially sanctioned and recorded, and taxed. But something like this would be hard to hide." He nodded to them, "It will be an interesting bit of research."
"I'm glad we could help."
Then the Executive Producer and the Anthropologist trekked down to where the Old Hands were now digging in the area around the foundation they had found.
"What'cha got?" Mr. Hagal called to them as they entered the clearing and could hear Jack swearing at something in the ground.
"All sorts of stuff."
"Midden pit," Sam said, then translated, "Garbage dump."
"Excellent," the professor said and rubbed his hands together, "Let's see."
"He gets excited about garbage," Jimmy chuckled.
"Of course, a treasure trove of information could be down there."
"And you're welcome to it," Jack said as he tried to get out of his own way to bring something out of the hole.
In a moment they carefully lifted a rotted bag out of the hole and sat it on a plastic try without losing any more of its contents than had already fallen out.
"Hang on, there's more," Jack said and reached back down and got a double handful of something and added it to the tray. "OK, that's it for that one. I need a break."
"OK, come out, I'll do the next one," Jimmy said.
They carried the tray to the worktable and began pouring over its contents.
The professor and the graduate student began to carefully peel back the heavily decayed burlap to expose what had been inside it for maybe two hundred years or more.
"That's glass," Sam said as they moved some black stuff that he thought was long dead vegetable matter of some sort. The black mess went into a glass bottle for further analysis back at the university, "This will tell us a lot about when this was buried," he explained as he sealed the bottle. Now they could work on the glass object.
"It's a wine bottle. Or at least the bottom of one," Doctor Arsenault said as he used forceps to pull it from the bag. "From the color, French, or at least, European. But I'm betting French. I've seen bottles like it before." It went into a bag with the dirt and stuff that was stuck to it.
The cameras also recorded it as they removed some animal bones, most of which showed signs of both being butchered and cooked.
"Oh. Look." Doctor Arsenault said, "Make sure you get this on camera, this is epic." He carefully poked something free from its surroundings. "It's the end of a quill that was used as a pen. The nib end has been hardened in hot ash, or it would be as deteriorated as the rest of it." He pointed at where the feather end of the quill had rotted away. "Look, you can see where it split when they were using it and they threw it in the trash, with ink still in it."
"Lucky for us they didn't throw it in the fire," Sam added. He looked up at his mentor, "This material looks like enough evidence for us to bring a group of students up here next semester? What do you think?"
"With what we saw across the river, we will be back."
Everything went into sealed bags with details written on the outside in marker, then into a box to be taken back to the university for further analysis.
Then the professor and Mr. Hagal had a good laugh as they heard the story of the ground penetrating radar survey of the washed out remains of what had been a cluster of huge old trees. By the roots, there had been at least three types of trees that had entangled roots that, according to the images, all died about the same time when the river exposed their roots to tidal waters.
"See you at the transport area about five. Supper will be ready once we get back and and cleaned up a bit," Mr. Hagal told them, then him and the Doctor and Andrew with their camera headed back to the base.
"Andrew, please give us a minute," Doctor Arsenault said. "You're OK, just turn the camera off."
"Off," he said and lowered the unit.
"Chris, I just want to know for my own benefit, they've both found evidence of Colonial era industry. And that's all that's here. How can you pick a winner on this one?"
"If this one is a tie, we still have two more, and a possible tie breaker. It'll work out."
The professor turned around and looked at Andrew, "Is he always this optimistic?"
The rest of the afternoon on both sites was spent digging up more evidence of Colonial era woodworking. Including a couple of small coins with dates in the late Eighteenth Century to confirm it.
That evening, back in the compound in the middle of the cabins, they had their debriefing over a good solid supper.
"No. We will divulge the winners of each challenge in the final episode in the studio," Mr. Hagal said with great authority even though he had only made that decision riding on one of the wagons back to camp.
"Wait a minute, then we won't know who's ahead," Anne said "and we'll have to...."
"You'll have to work like you're behind tomorrow and then a couple of days later at the final challenge."
"What about the tie breaker?"
"In truth. I think we should do it anyway, and then the results will be available if needed in the studio. Perhaps a bonus prize if the winning team also wins the tie breaker," Mr. Hagal said slowly.
The various Explorers all exchanged looks. "Well. OK. Yes, sir."
The evening's entertainment was a Canadian tribute band to a classic British rock band, which was a bit livelier than the children's production. There was also plenty of a local vintage of wine made with some of the local grapes that may have been the idea for the Viking's name for one of the places they found, Vinland, the land of wild grape vines.
"Very well, Explorers. We'll have a couple more songs...."
"And another glass of wine," somebody added.
"Yes, of course," Mr. Hagal nodded and saluted with his cup, "but tomorrow will be another early day as we change our area of investigation near the town of Ingonish Harbour, right on the coast, where we hope you will find something else of interest." He said, but refused to continue.
"Ohhh, mysterious." Bobbi whispered.
Anne and Lana smiled at the comment. Then they muttered, "we'll pour more wine into him, he'll talk."
All too soon the band did their final set and the bar closed and they were left sitting quietly in the dark.
"Well, OK," Jimmy said to his empty cup. "Bedtime."
The students stayed in the spare cabins and one of them slept in the truck, "Nobody's stealing this equipment," Sam stated with some force to his voice.
"Suit yourself," the professor answered and retired to the boy's cabin.
6. "When you get done yelling at each other, I found something..."
The local cooks produced another full breakfast, but Mr. Hagal wouldn't say any more about their destination other than they should wear items that could stand getting wet.
Today, instead of mounting up on wagons they all piled into a tour bus. It also meant that Susan could drive her tiny car along behind the bus with Sam following her in the truck full of equipment.
They followed the coast road along and over the river that had been the scene of the previous exploration. Then the road turned toward the east and the Explorers were once again in unknown territory.
"Welcome to Ingonish Beach," Sean announced proving that he could read from a moving vehicle.
"Yes indeed. For the first time your challenge is inside the boundaries of a recognized municipality."
"For some reason I don't think we're going to be looking for Viking ruins behind the restaurant," Alex observed as the bus slowed.
Mr. Hagal nodded, "No, but they are providing lunch."
The bus turned the opposite way from the restaurant onto Beach Crossing Road. Then it turned again not far along that road onto a narrow lane that got narrower, and rougher, as they traveled. Finally they stopped in a clearing next to a small house that was almost a cabin and an out building. "Here we are, everybody out," Mr. Hagal announced, "and our resident Anthropologist will explain why we are here."
Doctor Arsenault waited until everybody including his own students were out standing around in front of the vehicles. "This is a brand new site that we have not done any preliminary work other than verifying that it is worth further investigation." He turned and pointed at a track through the undergrowth between the two buildings. "Back in there is a construction site for another of these small residences. During the excavation they found some interesting items. And that's why we are here. The contractor has agreed to delay their work until the area is checked for historically significant relics. We have today and tomorrow to see what we can find."
Mr. Hagal nodded, "Same groups as yesterday. There should be two investigative areas to check out. When I was out here last week, the ground had a tendency to be a bit swampy without warning."
"Yes. I should have mentioned that. We have reason to believe that some of this area was lower with areas like where this cabin is built being a low island. You can see more of that sort of arrangement elsewhere on the coast. And some of those lowlands are a bit soft under foot."
Mr. Hagal looked around, "We were supposed to have three ATVs to haul the gear. I confirmed them with the owner last night and he said he knew exactly where to meet us. We'll give him a few minutes while we're getting organized. Miss Kenda, can you see to that while I try to call him."
Kenda chuckled and got everybody sorting gear, "I'm betting the ATVs are going to be a no show, so get it together like we're going to have to carry it."
There was a great deal of mumbling and halfhearted threats of a mutiny, but before Mr. Hagal came back saying that his contact's voice mailbox was full and he hadn't answered either of the text messages he'd sent to him this morning, they had everything essential for what they were going to do in bundles, several of them being held together with bungee cords.
Alex and Scott had found several long poles that used to hold fishing nets and made litters to carry some of the gear as well.
"How medieval do you want us to get?" Sam asked Doctor Arsenault as he secured a ground penetrating radar units to one of the litters with some twine.
"This'll work. And I will carry my fair share," the professor answered. "In fact, I'll get the leading end of that one and take the point."
Soon they were on their way into the woods at the edge of the property following the trail to the construction site with the three litters interspersed with various walkers who attempted to sing a marching song. Proving that while Sean could read, none of them could sing much of anything in tune and in time while walking.
Fortunately, the beginning of the clearing where the cabin was to be constructed wasn't all that far down the rough cut passage. Once there they got both team organized and the equipment then they gathered around Doctor Arsenault and Mr. Hagal.
"Well, we're here, and we're ready," Mr. Hagal announced, "Doctor, they're all yours. We, are at your service."
He bowed his head slightly, "And your service honors us." Then he gestured to where somebody had used machinery to begin digging a foundation hole, "There are two trial trenches. ..."
"That's convenient," Jack muttered and the others laughed.
"Yes it is," The professor agreed. "The only choice is which do you want to investigate for artifacts? The one on the left or the right of the cabin site?"
Jack looked to the rest of the Old Hands, Bobbi solved it for him, "Let the kids pick."
"That way we can blame them if we lose."
Doctor Arsenault turned to the Newcomers. They exchanged looks and took the one that was more or less in front of them. "So you get the one over there. And you may begin."
"Let's Go!" Kate said with enthusiasm.
But there was no mad rush to be first down inside the muddy ditch. Both groups with their student assistants walked to their side and peered down into the trench.
On the Newcomers side Alex gingerly lowered himself down into it to see just how soft it was. Once the others saw that he didn't instantly sink to his waist in mud Pat followed with a camera.
"It's OK. But I can see where they found an old campfire," Alex pointed to a spot in the soil along one side of the cut.
"How far down is it?" Mike the graduate student asked. Then he changed his mind, "Hang on, I want to see it," and he started down into the cut.
On the other side of the staked out foundation the Old Hands were doing something very similar.
Jack and Sam were already in the trench working out how to bring the radar unit down to get an even deeper scan than they could from the surface.
"We can do just like we did in the tree hole," Jack said as he gestured along, "you take a picture and we'll move it up a step."
Sam nodded, "Yeah, that'll work." He looked out at the others, "OK, hand us the antenna unit."
"On it's way," Jimmy said and went to get it.
Bobbi and Sue were doing as they did at the other site, setting up the table with the receiver on it and checking the signal from the other unit. "We're ready," they announced.
Sam was fussing over the unit, "All right, let me know if you're getting a picture."
"Yes, sir," Bobbi said as Sue adjusted something.
"All right, here we go."
Doctor Arsenault and Mr. Hagal were back where they had set up a field command center of sorts. They were having an energetic discussion about how to get lunch since their ATV contractor had evidently gone missing.
After a few minutes they paused and stood there as Mr. Hagal checked his phone to see if there were any new messages.
"When you get done yelling at each other, I found something over there," Cheryl said to them and pointed to where a power pole had been put in. "In the dirt pile next to it."
"We weren't yelling, we were," the professor said, then he glanced at Andrew's camera and changed his tone, "whatever. What have you found?"
She led them to the new pole, "That," she said and pointed to something shiny sticking out of the dirt.
Doctor Arsenault knelt next to it and carefully flicked the dirt off the object, "Well, OK. Let me get my kit."
In a few minutes the anthropologist had freed the object from the dirt around it and was carefully looking at what they'd uncovered.
He held it out for the camera, "Miss Cheryl has made our first discovery on this site. But I am afraid this only goes back to the middle of the Twentieth Century. Of course, I'll know more once we get it cleaned up and verified. But it looks like this is the handle of a fixed blade knife from sometime after World War Two. To me, this looks like the Boy Scout insignia stamped onto the blade just below where it is broken." He poked around in the dirt pile some more, "But I do want to scan this area. When one of our teams is done with their equipment, I'll borrow it."
Cheryl's discovery set the tone for everything they found.
Evidently the area had been used as a camping spot for everybody from the Scouts to various hunting or fishing parties for the last hundred years or so.
Some of the evidence of hunting camps included cast lead bullets and some very old shotgun shells. A few of which were unfired. There were also a couple of rusty fishhooks still attached to some brittle line, and a decaying lure that they were told looked like it had been hand carved and then had commercially made treble hooks attached to it.
The restaurant went ahead and delivered their lunch to the site, having two of their employees trek it down the path to them from the parking area by the cabin. For their trouble, Mr. Hagal tipped them quite well, and they got to appear on camera smiling and waving.
"This morning's efforts included my own discovery of the hilt of a hunting knife, what I am told is the detachable handle to a camp cookpot found by our Newcomers, and a handful of tent stakes that got the Old Hands quite excited for a few minutes. We'll resume the exploration after these messages," Cheryl kept smiling for a few seconds.
"And you're clear," Andrew said to her, then he turned to the producer, "That's a good one."
"Now can I eat lunch?" Cheryl asked.
"Yes, ma'am. We all can." Kenda answered. "Let's go."
The afternoon's effort added a few more items to the inventory, and for the first time they found things with a definite date on it.
"Here's two more," Doctor Arsenault said, "and I can read this one, 1931." He held up a coin and 'CANADA FIVE CENTS' was clearly readable to the camera, "and that is George the Fifth," he said as he turned it around.
The Old Hands had discovered the coins not far from where they had found the tent stakes on the outside of the foundation trench. They were in a filled in hole with what appeared to be a good bit of rotten paper, which they all suspected had been toilet paper. Used toilet paper. But the metal detector picked up the coins, and that was enough to get them digging into the spot. The paper, and whatever else was down there was just a bonus.
The Old Hand's discovery of the latrine coins gave the Newcomers a new sense of purpose. They scanned both sides of their trench out some distance with the ground penetrating radar, and then along the bottom with the antenna on its side to look sideways. While that was going on the other Newcomers scanned their whole side of the construction site with their high-powered metal detector.
"Nope, not coins. Two more bottle caps," Misti said as Chantal handed what she had dug up to her.
"Hang on, I can read it," she said, "it's Moosehead!"
Misti handed them to Doctor Arsenault who looked at them and laughed, "At least it is a Canadian brand."
Not far away they found several oddly shaped cans of the same brand, and a couple of those were in fairly good shape for having spent decades in the ground. Those the anthropologist said he could date, "I've got a whole database of labels and styles of the cans. Since it is steel, I'm pretty sure I'll be able to get a good date on it. And those caps probably went to these cans."
"That can looks like it should be brake fluid," somebody said from off camera.
"The cone style steel can was used in the thirties into the World War Two years. It is old and no mistake." The Doctor said putting the old cans into separate bags with love and respect.
A sudden burst of dramatic shouting and yelling brought the entire site to a standstill and everybody came running over to the Old Hand's side of the site.
"I've got him, dig him out," Jack kept saying. He himself was buried in mud up to his waist, but he was holding one of Sean's arms with his other hand under his shoulder, with mud and water almost up to Sean's neck.
Several of the other Explorers as well as the crew members were digging around both of them with mixed, and decidedly sloppy, results.
"We got the radar unit out!" Sean said with a bit of strain to his voice.
It took some time to free both of them from the muck, then they found out what happened.
The trench had started damp, but then after lunch it got a bit wetter. Then as they were digging at something they had found in the corner near where they'd discovered the campfire when the wall of the trench suddenly liquefied and muck and water poured in. Now the trench was almost half full of a thick dark slurry.
Once the two men were out they calmed everybody down Mr. Hagal made an executive producer type decision, "Let's get everything together and head back to camp. I think we've had enough of this site." He shook some more mud off his own hands. "Tomorrow, we'll go to something that should be quite a bit drier."
Jack nodded and glanced at Sean, "I think we're all for that."
7. "I'm going, I'm doing."
The showers at the camp were quite popular for some time, but they were still several hours early for the evening meal and entertainment.
Everybody ended up gathering in the dining tent sipping various beverages and pestering Mr. Hagal for a hint about tomorrow's outing.
He finally gave in. "OK, there's no harm in telling you now. Everybody get a seat and we'll set up the screens."
After he got a suitable adult beverage Mr. Hagal asked for everybody's attention and then began as the projector changed from a logo for the TV show to a view of a brush covered hill. "Tomorrow we will be going into the Cape Breton Highlands National Park and up to the summit of Franey Mountain. Don't panic, it is just over four hundred meters high. That's fourteen hundred feet. I did confirm that our all terrain vehicles will be available at first light in the morning to take us up there. And now, Dr. Arsenault will explain why we are going mountain climbing."
The Professor took a sip of his Canadian beer and nodded. "I've only been up there once myself, I think Sam has been up there, twice?" He looked over at the graduate student. "So he will be our guide."
Everybody laughed at Sam's initial reaction, but he recovered quickly. "Yeah, twice. If our flags are gone we've got the GPS coordinates. We'll find it."
"Good," he clicked on the projector which changed to showing them a LIDAR map of the mountain. Then it zoomed in on an area that showed something that wasn't rocks and brush. "This is the object of our expedition. As you can see, there are four, or maybe five buildings in a group just below the summit on the south western arm of the massif in that clearing. Sam?"
"We did find one corner of one. I think it's the one to the lower right. But it did prove that they were man made and it's not a natural formation." He gestured broadly to the image, "but it's a good sized area, and there were only two of us, and it started raining while we were up there. So we got one sample, took some pictures, and left."
The screen changed to show some of his pictures, and an image of a rough cut stone.
"And now the more interesting part of the story," Doctor Arsenault said. "We have even less of an idea of who was up there and why than we did at the other two sites. At the site on the river, we suspected it to be colonial, but there was also a chance that it had an earlier history, perhaps even Norse. And to tell the truth, it still may. At today's location, we knew it to be more recent, but we didn't know who had been out there and why. With this one. There isn't even that clue. Obviously several buildings were constructed, but there are no records of any landholdings on the mountain." He looked over at Mr. Hagal, "Chris."
Mr. Hagal stood up and clicked to the next image, "In preparation for this episode we commissioned several researchers to go through everything including available diaries and journals related to Nova Scotia and Breton Island, newspapers and magazines, and official records both in Halifax and in Ottawa. And, so far, nothing was ever up there. But Sam has some ideas of his own."
"We thought that it could be something of an unofficial hunting camp. Or perhaps squatters who set up a settlement to prospect in the valleys around the mountain. But that doesn't jive with the size of two of the buildings that we see in the LIDAR image. Perhaps several families, maybe a commune of French refugees after the revolution. But we will not know until we get up there and take a serious look around." He smiled at the Explorers and the crew, "Which is where you all come in." The image on the screens was a satellite photo of Franey Mountain. "Jack? You look like you want to say something."
Most of the others laughed.
"He always wants to say something," Jimmy chuckled.
Jack ignored them and answered Mr. Hagal, "I was just wondering whose ahead on the challenges?"
"We were talking about that on the way back this afternoon. Just on sheer relevance of the artifacts recovered, the Newcomers are slightly ahead."
The Newcomers applauded and cheered.
Jack and the other Old Hands exchanged looks. "Well, that just means we have to find something good up on your mountain."
"We can do that."
Jimmy wasn't so sure, "If there's anything there to find," he said staring at the photo.
Cheryl interrupted the proceedings by announcing that the camp cooks had supper ready and the evening's entertainment was getting ready to perform.
"Excellent," Mr. Hagal answered, "we'll leave it there. Breakfast will be early and we'll head for the mountain as soon as possible. We'll take boxed lunches with us, as well as everything else we'll need because, as you can see, there is exactly nothing up there."
The meal was a veritable feast of dishes made of products from across Canada, including caribou meat loaf, home made barley soup, and desserts made from several types of fresh fruits.
As they finished up eating a singing group from the college warmed up, and then began a two hour medley of music from groups from Canada from World War Two on.
Then it was bedtime with Mr. Hagal promising them that their transports would be there at first light.
Their overland vehicles were there before first light.
They ate breakfast while still groggy from the previous night's entertainment. But the jovial local named Carter who was the master of the convoy of four door four wheel drive vehicles was all too happy to join in the meal and kept up a commentary about other tourist groups he had guided into the National Park.
"Yes, it was last year we took the Methodist youth group up to the river to see the cliffs," he said and gestured with his fork. "Two of them got carsick all over the inside of Jacob's truck."
"How bad is the road up the mountain?" Scott asked him.
"Road? There is no road. We'll follow the stream then climb up." Again there were more fork gestures, ending with him holding it almost vertically in the air.
Within the hour of the vertical fork they were turning off a narrow gravel road that had led them off the highway north of town and into the park. The problem was that when Carter had said there was no road to where they were going, he wasn't exaggerating. What he called 'the ranger's road' continued on into the valley, but he turned left and began to follow something that could almost be called 'a trail'. Several times he stopped and peered at the brush and rocks then made a decision and drove carefully on, followed by several other similar vehicles and a couple of aging pickup trucks full of gear and supplies.
"I need to go look," Carter said at one such stop.
"I'll come with you," Sam said as the only one that even remotely claimed to remember how he got to where they were going.
Kenda and Nick followed them with a video camera as they scuttled around a large boulder and then along through a line of low bushes.
"Well?" Sam asked him after they had scrambled along a low ridge and Carter admitted that even his four by four, which had magical powers, couldn't have made it without rolling over and ending up in the creek far below.
"I'm thinking," he said then he looked at the camera and said it again, adding something extra for the folks that knew him, "Yes, I am thinking, I can do that sometimes."
Finally his thinking led them to backtrack down to the trucks and then scout out another route up to the next clearing.
Kenda made a command decision for the production crew. "We'll wait here and shoot you going around and then up there," she said to Carter.
"Suit yourself, but I got this."
It was an interesting few minutes, but then finally they emerged onto the plateau and proceeded due south to the target area.
"This is it, park over there, that's away from the building we found. There, I can see our flag, it's still here!" Sam shouted.
The first thing they did was everybody helped get their base set up and they put up two dining flies and set up a couple of portable tables. Then they sorted the equipment and got both the archaeology and video gear together. With everybody having had a lot of experience it didn't take long.
Then the groups gathered together on each side of the tent and waited as Kenda and Andrew confirmed the show side of the work while Nick fussed over the camera gear.
"Very well, we're ready to go. You've all got your site maps. There are several buildings and other possible structures out there. Sam's group even thinks they've found post holes from an old palisade. We have today and tomorrow to investigate this site. It is very possible that this will decide the winner with or without our tiebreaker the day after tomorrow." He turned toward the Professor, "Doctor Arsenault."
"Yes. As this is a totally unknown site, anything you find will be of interest, and if you don't find anything, that is of interest too. We know there were man made structures here. We think they may have been European, but that's just speculation at this point. Whatever you come up with may solve that mystery." He stopped and looked back at Mr. Hagal.
"There you go. As the Old Hands are behind, we'll let them pick where they want to work."
They chatted for a minute, then picked what appeared to be the largest structure. The Newcomers took a set of three smaller buildings and they got their gear and split up with camera crews following them.
The first thing they had to do was poke around in the small bushes and weeds for where the old foundations had been. There were only traces of them above ground, mostly covered with thorn bushes.
Jimmy cleared out some of the loose dead brush and Jack helped their student with the ground penetrating radar, Anne and Bobbi helped watch the images while Sean kept the metal detector going and Lana marked anything that beeped. On the Newcomers side, the work was divided up in a similar fashion.
They'd been at it for less than an hour when Susan and Bobbi got all excited about something they saw on the screen. "Back up, go real slow," they said to Sam. "There!"
Jack put a flagged stake on each side of the antenna unit. "OK, it's marked."
But then everything on the entire summit came to a standstill when Lana shouted that she'd found something.
"I saw it under a bush and thought it was just garbage. It's not garbage," she said holding a crucifix and several beads, the largest of them still had rotten string in it.
Immediately Susan was on the ground gently brushing away dirt and pulling more beads out from in between the roots of the small thorn bush that had grown up in and through them. "It was a rosary," she said as she brought out more of them and showed them to the camera.
They weren't supposed to uproot any of the bushes if it could be helped, so she spent a lot of time digging and fussing with the roots and rocks. Then the bush almost fell over and she moved most of it and pulled out more beads.
The next discovery came from the Newcomers side. "I've got three coins," Kate said as Alex handed her stuff out of the hole he'd dug where the metal detector had gone off, "and some kind of buckle."
Doctor Arsenault pronounced them as French Jetons, but he wasn't sure of the date. "They are old, but I'm not certain of how old. And this," he examined the buckle, "is off something like a purse, not clothing."
Within the hour the Old Hands had marked out the foundation of their building and had found what had been a pedestal at the north end of it. As they moved bushes they found three weathered and eroded fleur-de-lis engraved on the side of a stone block. On another was a equally worn cross.
By the lunch break both sides had found the other foundations on the map and had begun a couple of test trenches to see if anything was in, around, or under them in various places.
Over lunch Kenda had Cheryl prod Sam until he admitted he was toying with a new theory.
"Just right now, it looks like a monastery, French Catholics, probably somewhere in the French colonial era, which is just before sixteen hundred through the seventeen sixties, and maybe a bit after. We'll know a lot more after we finish the other test trenches after lunch."
"Ready for round two?" Cheryl asked Jack as he stood over their trench.
He picked up the small shovel and the trowel he'd been using, "No, but it's not going to get done if I just stand here and talk to you." He glanced at the camera, "I'm going, I'm doing."
While they excavated, other crews were using the ground penetrating radar and metal detectors. When they discovered something, it was marked and their own diggers set to work.
It was during one of those when Misti got all excited. "I've got something!" she shouted and waved at Sue who was watching other Newcomers working in their test trench. "It's glass, like."
"Ceramic," her sister added, "but it's broken."
"Yeah. But was big."
The camera was there as they all worked to reveal a large shallow bowl.
"This is marvelous, there's decorations on it," Sue said as she handed a piece of the vessel up to Dr. Arsenault who held it to be photographed, then he gently laid it in a padded box next to the rest of its kin.
"There's no doubt, this is the rest of the horse," the Archaeologist said. "From what I've seen, this was probably a tureen, or similar serving bowl. It may have been broken at some point, or intentionally left outside for some reason."
"Why was there a horse on it?" Cheryl asked.
"It was decorated with a country scene."
"Was the decorations inside or outside?"
He paused for a second, "That's an interesting question Miss Cheryl. Let's see if we can figure it out."
Dr. Arsenault carefully repositioned the larger sections of the bowl in the box, then added the next piece that had just come out of the ground.
"That's a wagon," Cheryl said, "behind the horse, and the curve is," she looked at it and tried to imagine the complete bowl, "it's inside. The other pattern, the lines, are outside."
"I agree, well done."
It didn't take long for the news of the latest discovery to work its way into the Old Hand's trench.
"A cooking pot?" Jack asked.
Jimmy nodded, "Something like that. Whatever it is, it means we're behind again."
Jack gestured to the dirt around him, "I can't make something good appear."
Jimmy looked sideways at the trench, "We need to cover more ground. Quickly." He grinned, "I've got an idea."
"Back to the sideways scanning?"
"Go get it, I'll get ready down here."
They worked hard for an hour or so, then those monitoring the scan told them to stop, "There's something there. One big target and a couple of smaller ones. There clear as they can be on the screen."
"OK, we're digging," Jimmy called back to them.
On the other side of the Old Hands section there had been a series of small discoveries, including where somebody had evidently dropped a handful of buttons at some point.
"Nine," Lana said as she uncovered another one.
Sean picked it up and handed it to Sam. "Looks the same to me."
"Pretty much," the graduate student said as he put it in a tray with the other eight.
"Hang on, there's something else here," Lana said and started moving dirt again.
Day two was more of the same, except this time Carter had a much less interesting route to get to the top than he did on the first day.
Both groups finished their second trenches and did small test holes in various locations as suggested by the archaeological team from the revised map of the site based on their findings.
"OK, I got something," one of the Newcomers said from what they had decided was a midden pit behind what may have been the dormitory of the monastery. "It's shiny."
It took a couple of minutes of work, but then the object returned to the sun lit world from over a meter under the surface for the first time in hundreds of years.
Dr. Arsenault was right there to accept it on camera. "That, my friend, is a snuff box. And a good sized one." He spent some time gently wiping the accumulation of soil from it then examined what he could see of the surface decoration. "Continental, most certainly. Perhaps, Eastern Continental. Poland would be my first guess."
Sam and the others nodded at it, "Yeah. Probably made for export."
The Old Hands didn't take the find lying down and threw themselves into digging deeper and faster and pushing their metal detector until the batteries died. Their efforts earned them a couple of buttons, another small buckle, and what appeared to be what was left of a very rusty door hinge.
"It is worth finding," Sam told them, "we might be able to identify where and when it was made from metallurgical analysis. Just from looking at it, I'd bet it was from the American Colonies. Maybe even Virginia, they did export some trade goods back then."
"Well," Sean said as he looked back down in the test hole where the door to one of the buildings should have been, "I guess that's something."
There was plenty for the scientists to examine once they got back to the University campus, including a large medallion the Old Hands found in with the small ones that had a worn painted image on it that looked like a double headed eagle with a partial Latin phrase around it.
Cheryl was in the studio with a large image of the object on the screen behind her.
"This is what sealed win of day one on top of the mountain for the Old Hands. I'll let Doctor Arsenault explain what we're looking at."
"This is the black double eagle and inscription of the later Holy Roman Empire, the lower phrase is Latin for 'House of the Emperor'. That places this object, and perhaps this entire site between 1550 to 1650, give or take a few years. We'll know more when we get the dates back on some of the other samples." He nodded as the screen changed to the other religious artifacts, "The oldest currently active monasteries in Canada were founded in the early Twentieth Century, 1908, 1912, but there were others before. They just didn't last for various reasons. What we found at the site on Franey Mountain it would appear there had been a French Monastery there during the Colonial period, it had some ties to the Empire to the east of France, may have even been a Papal enclave. However, it didn't last. We found nothing there to date the site later than about 1690."
There was one challenge left. Mr. Hagal's tiebreaker. And now it looked like they needed it.
In camp that night, he told them to get a good night's sleep, because, "As far as we can tell now, it is a tie. So tomorrow's effort will decide things. Any tie breaker after tomorrow will be the result of the examination of the various artifacts discovered by Doctor Arsenault and his team. So you'd be better off working hard and finding...."
"The Holy Grail," somebody offered from over in the group of Old Hands.
"That would do it," he looked around, "I believe our food is ready. Shall we?" he gestured that way.
8. "It's cool, but I don't think it's old."
After breakfast they boarded a coach bus and headed south on the coastal highway. They traveled a good distance then crossed the causeway over Saint Ann's bay then they drove onto a ferry. After the crossing by boat the bus slowed dramatically as the paved road turned into gravel road. Some distance down the road they slowed, then pulled off onto a slightly wider area. Behind them the truck and van with their equipment pulled in behind them.
In a few minutes Mr. Hagal had them gather around in a good-sized clearing with a few bushes and a couple of odd trees here and there. "During the Colonial Era, the British fought many battles with everybody on the island, including the resident Acadians, various First Peoples, the French, and certain private groups. The most notable battles between the British and the French occurred some distance south of here at Port Royal and other locations along the Annapolis River, and elsewhere on the southern peninsula. Up this way there was action at Louisbourg, the French fortress on the Atlantic defending Ile Royale in 1745 east of here."
Then Dr. Arsenault took up the narrative and pointed to the south. "Just over there is what is now called Englishtown, which used to be called Port Dauphin when it was French. Recently, a family discovered what may be evidence of a battle between one side and the other here along the bay. Your mission today is to spread out over the area with your gear and determine if there was an actual battle ." He stopped and turned back to Mr. Hagal.
"Yes. Right now, for all practical purposes, the contest is a tie. Of course, that is pending some further study of the relics found so far. But as that may take longer than we have, today could well determine the winners." He paused, "And to keep it fair, Miss Cheryl flipped a coin for you this morning. The Old Hands will take the southern half of the clearing," he pointed to the line of bright yellow flags that ran across at something of an angle, "and the newcomers the north. As we are all familiar with the procedures, let us begin."
They fanned out and began scouring the area with everything from eyes to ground penetrating radar.
Anne and Jimmy set off walking back and forth from one side of the area to the other with one of the smaller metal detectors. Jack helped with the radar unit while the others put the dining fly and equipment table up.
On the other side, the Newcomers discussed a search grid and spent some time pointing one way and the other while using an elderly maple tree as an anchor for their search.
Cheryl was smiling at the camera, "As you can see, our two groups of Explorers are now well familiar with how to conduct a preliminary Archaeological survey of an area. Oh, it looks like Jimmy and Anne found something they want the others to check out. Let's go see what they've found."
Jack was soon on the ground as Sean ran the larger metal detector back and forth over the low mound of dirt that had beeped in the back corner of the clearing.
"OK, right there," Sean said as Jimmy pointed with a stick.
Nick moved so the image was out of his own shadow as Jack began digging while Anne and Lana watched for anything that might win the challenge for them.
"Check it again," Jack said after he'd dug down a ways.
The detector still beeped over the dead center of the hole, "Still there, and I think it's big."
"I'm digging," Jack answered and did just that.
They all heard his small gardening shovel hit something solid. He backed off and began clearing loose soil from around it, remembering quite well the warning about accidentally destroying something that might be a national treasure. "OK, there it is."
Sean moved the coil of the detector over the hole, "That's it."
Anne decided to get on her own hands and knees and help him, "I see it, I think it goes back that way more," she gestured to one side of the hole.
"OK. Give me a second." He moved some more dirt. "It's big."
By now word had spread that they'd actually found something that wasn't a beer can and they had a considerable audience.
"I got it," Anne said as Jack pulled a tree root away from part of it.
"Let's bring it up," he answered. "And here it is," he pulled it out and they handed the dirt covered object to Jimmy.
"OK, what is it?" Sean asked them as the large metal object saw the sun for the first time in however many years.
"I have no idea. Where's the Professor?"
"Right here," Doctor Arsenault said, "And I think I know what it is? Sam? What's your opinion?"
The graduate student bent over and ran his hand along the piece, "A timberjack."
"That's what I'd say."
"A logging tool. It would appear this one was broken and left where they'd used it. There should be a large cross piece attached here." He pointed to the lower extension of the tool. "You can see where this used to move," he indicated a very rusty joint where the upper arm began to end in a hook. "And the wooden handle would go in here."
"Logging, not a battle." Sean said, "Right?"
"Yes. It's cool, but I don't think it's old. Not that old anyway."
"OK, that was close, back to work," Emmy whispered to Scott from just their side of the dividing line.
"Yeah, I thought they had something good."
"Good or not, it was something. We haven't found anything."
Scott nodded and they got back to work.
In a few minutes, Sam was explaining the use of the tool they'd found to Cheryl and the camera, "Logging is still a working industry here. As we saw at the first site, there were working logging camps all over the island, and some were not well documented. This is a photo of a complete timberjack, so you can see there is quite a bit missing that may turn up. I'm hoping to get a manufacturer's mark off the one we found, which may give us a date and perhaps even a company that was using it. But, it isn't evidence of the battle which we were hoping to find."
By lunch they'd found a set of badly corroded car keys which got the metal detector all excited, and some spent shotgun cartridges. As well as a few more relics of the area's lumbering past.
"You're sure this is where they found the stuff from the war." Kate asked Dr. Arsenault.
"Yes. It is the same spot," he answered, "at least this is where we were told they had found the pieces."
"Then I guess we'll keep looking."
"That's how we always have to do it."
After lunch the two groups of Explorers went back to work, and found a rusty pocket knife, a few more shotgun shells, but all evidence of a battle eluded them.
"It's more barbed wire," Chantal said as they confirmed that the bit of rusty metal they pulled out of the area along one side of the clearing.
Then Doctor Arsenault interrupted everything.
"Folks, may I have your attention. I don't know how to say it, so I'll just say it. We're on the wrong side of the Bay. We need to on the Jersey Cove side," he pointed across the water. "The family had their map upside down when they marked the GPS location."
"Why was the battle on that side of the bay?" Sam asked.
"I have no idea, there is no record of military activity in that area, but perhaps it was a scouting party or a picket line that engaged the enemy. If we find the site we'll know a lot more."
Mr. Hagal stood there for a second, then he shrugged to Kenda. "All right, we'll finish up here, put everything up, and do 'Tiebreaker Part Two' over there tomorrow." He exchanged looks with the Professor, then he nodded. "All right, everybody. Let's give this site one more sweep, just to rule it out, and then we'll wrap it up."
"Back to work," somebody from the Newcomers said.
"We're already going," an Old Hand responded.
They spent the rest of the afternoon running various scans and poking around along the edge of the ditch next to the road, but then they packed everything up and headed back to camp.
Mr. Hagal had arranged for their final dinner to be served tonight, complete with several local dignitaries and another musical performance, and he hadn't thought about trying to reschedule it, so when they arrived at the camp an hour later there was a considerable crowd in the parking lot.
During supper the Professor and his team were pouring over maps rolled out on the table and displayed on computer screens of the sandy beach and clearing south of Jersey Cove. They were hard at work because no preliminary work had been done and they were going in cold.
"OK, we'll run down there early and stake it out," Susan said. "That way we'll at least know where you're going."
Dr. Arsenault was still staring at the map, "Smith's Cove. This area right here," he circled the area on the satellite photograph, "This is where the Labillois family was searching for driftwood and seashells."
"What were they looking for that for?"
"Mrs. Labillois's mother makes handmade items that are for sale in giftshops all over the Maritime's, and online of course."
"Of course," Susan answered. "We'll divide it from about here," she pointed to what appeared to be an old piling, "back to the tree line."
"That'll be good. We'll park everything...." Kenda looked around the area along the road, "Depends on the tide, but, along here somewhere. We'll set the tent up along here."
Andrew and the film crew watched with interest, then they discussed their own details of how to cover the extra day of field work by the Explorers. Kenda let them get through that discussion, and dessert, just before the entertainment for the evening got going she made the decision about how to film this outing for the show, and who'd go with her on the early run down there.
9. "Before we begin to refill the graves..."
Early the next morning some of the people from both the Archaeological and TV Production crews got up, grabbed breakfast to go, and headed out for the eighty kilometer drive down to the new location just as the sun peaked over the horizon.
The others were a bit slower to get moving, but they too were soon well fed, well coffee-ed, and then when the coach bus arrived, they mounted up and headed south as well.
Today the bus turned onto a narrow side road just before the highway continued out onto the causeway to the ferry.
"No turn around," somebody read off a sign as the coach slowed and turned.
"We're not going to turn around, you'll have to walk back out," came the immediate answer.
The coach traveled a good distance along on the narrow road past a couple clusters of houses, then the road turned toward the Bay and ran just along the high water mark. Finally, they saw the vehicles that had left camp early that morning and the bus pulled in behind them.
As usual, Mr. Hagal made his opening speech to everybody, but with one difference at the very beginning. "This IS the last day of shooting. We have to be out of the camp tomorrow morning no matter what. It has been reserved and pre-paid by another organization beginning tomorrow afternoon. We have reservations at the airport in Halifax for a direct flight to O'Hare for those going that way, with connections to St. Louis. Others will be boarding a flight to New York. And, of course, LA. So. This is it. As yesterday's somewhat misdirected tiebreaker didn't decide anything, it all comes down to this. As far as we can tell from the description and revised GPS coordinates from our driftwood gatherers, this is where they found the material from the battle. So there should be more out there. We'll do as we did at the site on the other side of the Bay, half and half, yesterday's coin flip is also today's coin flip...."
"The show can't afford a second coin."
Mr. Hagal ignored the comment, but it did make it into the show.
"Again, you all know the drill. As we are out of time, this is for the win. Get going. Lunch will be delivered, and we need to get back to the highway before the next high tide which is at six tonight. So. Go!"
As the two groups fanned out over the site it wasn't long before they began to find things that indicated they were in the right spot to find evidence of a Colonial period battle.
Both sides uncovered buckles and decayed leather parts of what appeared to be a cartridge belt pouches. There was a brass cap badge that appeared to be military in origin, but it was so corroded that not even the Professor could venture a guess as to whose it had been. Then the other side found a severely rusted muzzle-loading pistol. And there was what appeared to be a rotten pouch with a few coins in it.
Then something on the Newcomer's side broke it wide open.
"You've got something there," Susan said watching the ground penetrating radar. "And there," she said as he pulled it along. "And the edge of it there."
Kenda was right there with both a video cameraman her own still camera to record the find.
The image on the radar unit showed disturbed soil down just over a meter and a half, by a meter or so wide. When he went back over just to one side of the original path, he found them again.
"Looks like graves," the Professor said.
With something that serious in the works, most of the work on both sites came to a standstill and they all set to working on the corner of the Newcomer's section that was of a slightly higher elevation, the furthest from the Bay.
They were carefully excavating all three of the possible graves. But with no idea which end was the head they were taking extra care with the digging.
Lunch arrived before they had gotten too far with the excavation of the graves, so they all ate hurriedly and excitedly, then they went back to work.
"Reminds me of that first chamber in Belize. You know, the one with the people under the floor stones," Jimmy said to the camera as he carefully removed more sandy soil from what was obviously an old pit of disturbed soil.
Cheryl asked the crucial question, "Does the idea that what you find may lose the challenge for your team worry you?"
Jimmy shook his head and handed Alex the bucket of dirt he'd just removed, "No, this is history. Just like the Mayan stuff. If we find a soldier's grave here from back in, what was it, the Seventeen hundreds? That's older than America. This could be really important. More important than winning a TV show."
"What do you think of them helping you?" She asked Alex.
"They've done this before. Like he said, with that Mayan Priest, so, I'm grateful for the help."
"No problem, and I think I've got something here," Jimmy said from down in the hole, "Doctor Arsenault, Susan, somebody, come here."
The camera was right above them as they carefully moved more sand and dirt and uncovered badly decayed fabric and then black muck and what could have been bones.
"It's a femur, this is his legs, so his head is on that end," Susan said as they uncovered some more. "I can't tell if he's French or anything else from here."
"OK," Jimmy said.
Then the ground penetrating radar found one other grave, away from the others, but also on the slight elevation to keep it away from the highest water level of the bay.
Immediately whoever wasn't already digging set to excavating the fourth grave.
The first clue as to the occupant of one of the graves came from the one with Sean and Lana down in the hole while Misti and Chantal worked up top for them.
"Ribs," Lana said as matter of factly as she possibly could. "And this," she spotted something metallic and brushed some sand off it for the camera and Dr. Arsenault who was right there as soon as she said anything.
"Oh, yes. Wonderful. Keep exposing that, I believe I know what that is," he said as she worked, then Sean began working further down on the object. "Yes, that is a French Sword."
"Wouldn't they have taken their dead back to France?" Sean asked as they kept working so they could get a good photo of the body and the sword.
"A ranking officer, probably. But the enlisted and lower ranking officers were often buried where they fell. As the sword is on his chest, it is his sword. If it were an enemy's weapon, it would be under his feet."
In a few moments they'd uncovered another sword in the grave Jimmy was working on, also on the man's chest.
The body in the third grave of the three together was buried without a sword, but there was the remains of a musket with him.
"Make sure you get good photos of that action, I think I've seen that before and I want to make sure of it," the graduate student told the photographers.
In the grave out by itself, it was obvious that this had been an enemy soldier, but he had been buried by the same group, and with what military honors they could arrange. He was buried in similar fashion, while holding a flintlock pistol over his chest with a long gun by his side.
"He looks British. Red coat, sash, and that pistol. We'll know more after we check out the images, but I'm pretty sure he was British." Dr. Arsenault said with confidence.
Everything was photographed in great detail. The locations of the graves were recorded as closely as possible. A select few samples were taken for testing and dating. Then they began to carefully, and with as much honor as they could muster, rebury the dead where they had originally been laid to rest.
"Before we begin to refill the graves, I think a few words of remembrance should be said," Sam said.
"I agree," the Professor said. He looked around, "do you want to do it?"
"Sure, I'll say a bit, and then Susan can offer a prayer."
The Archaeologist nodded at them, "I had wondered what you two were talking about."
"Well, it's only right."
"Yes it is."
Both groups of Explorers stood at a respectful distance and in a somber attitude while the TV crew slowly panned across showing the excavations and then the Archaeological team.
Mr. Hagal was facing the camera, "And now, before we reclose the graves over these honored dead from a war so very long ago, our graduate students will recommit them to the Earth."
"Many years before any of us were born. These soldiers of France and England engaged in battle, here. A battle that history has all but forgotten. But we have found them, and the evidence of their struggle. And although we may never be able to learn their names, we will never forget them. And now, with our friends from the American television show, more people will learn of what happened here. And thereby, these warriors for France and Great Britain, are remembered."
"Dear God, we are humbled by this evidence of our own mortality, and how small we are in the larger story of this world. We thank You for this chance to add to our own history. Now, I humbly ask You to give these soldiers of old Your Divine Rest and Peace. Amen."
They stood silently for a moment, then as Dr. Arsenault nodded Mr. Hagal and the others picked up a handful of the excavated sand and then they sprinkled it into the open pits.
It took a lot less time to recover the graves, and even to relocate some foliage to conceal them against further disturbance.
As they worked Cheryl talked to Doctor Arsenault.
"Wouldn't it better serve the investigation to take at least one of them back for examination."
"Possibly, but I am in favor of leaving them where they are. We've got a couple of teeth to test. That will give us a great deal of information about the ages and home areas of a couple of these soldiers, we have a few buttons, some of the fabric, and what I believe is a unit insignia from one of the uniforms, as well as high definition photos of the weapons and other objects in the graves. I believe we have enough material to answer the majority of the questions about this site and these men. We don't have to further disturb them, or even disinter them. They've given us enough information. Let's let them continue to rest in peace."
The camera moved from the interview to the final shot of the Explorers moving a large clump of grass onto the British soldier's grave.
10. "And now, back to the studio."
"So it's our last night," Alex said as they got their supper.
"Yup. We've got to drink up all that booze tonight, you can't take it back through customs." Jack said nodding at what had become the camp bar.
"I think I'm up to the challenge," he glanced over at Misti who was right behind him in line, "you game for it?"
"Always. And since we don't have to get up early and get to work, we can dance all night." And she smiled for the camera as she did a lively bit of footwork while holding her plate and a glass of wine.
The 'freelance musical sound engineer', as his digital sign proclaimed, was happy to oblige Misti's request to play every dance number he had on his hard drive. And he had a lot of them, so he proclaimed that it was now a "Right and proper knees up party! So everybody, let's dance!" And a good number of the other Explorers, as well as several of the students and the production crew joined in and did just that. Even Kate danced a little. Very Little as she was just a little too far along to do a lot of disco dancing.
While they danced, others spent the evening drinking and discussing the finds from their various digs.
Scott had been out on the dance floor, then he took a break and joined the discussion at the table with some of the items from the dig on top of the mountain. "The only thing we didn't find was something from the Vikings. I was certain we'd find something from them, somewhere. I mean, we found soldiers and monks and lumberjacks and everything else. Why not the Vikings?"
Dr. Arsenault thoughtfully and gently turned the religious medallion that had been found with the Rosary, they had tried to identify the icon on it, but the image was too worn from its time in the ground to be one hundred percent certain of who it was. "While I personally believe that the Norse did come down here. I am also convinced that they did so as hunting and perhaps raiding parties and didn't stay more than a night or two in transient and very low impact camps. Which means if we do find evidence of them, it won't be much, and it probably won't be where we expect it."
"They wouldn't be Vikings if they did what you expected them to do."
The setting changed from the open sided dining facility at the Canadian Campground to the TV studio with the two groups of Explorers, plus one small addition who came with Kate and Alex who had arrived just early enough to be on TV.
Cheryl asked them to make the introduction of the real Newcomer to the audience.
Kate's smile was just as broad as the hostess's, "This is Jodi, and she's at her best right now."
Mr. Hagal was sitting between the two groups of Explorer's with a low table of some of their finds in front of him, including a partially re-built rosary from on top of the mountain.
"Not a bad selection for Seven total days of Archaeological exploration on Nova Scotia's Cape Breton Island. And, for the record, this group of Explorers has again set a record for our show. Five different locations for challenges."
The screen changed to show a brief clip from each of the challenges: along the river, then the construction site, summit of Franey Mountain, then finally on both sides of Saint Ann's Bay.
"So, I want to hear from our Newcomers. Beginning with Misti and Chantal, what did you think of your trip to Canada?"
The sisters looked at each other and laughed together, Chantal answered, "We had a blast, I've talked about it so much Auntie Castilla stopped calling me."
"I even learned how to make poutine. But without the lobster," Misti added.
"So did I, and he wanted extra sausage and cheese in his," Bobbi said nudging Jack as she talked. "But since she had the baby Kate only wants it about once a week."
"Instead of every night," Alex said with a smile.
The camera switched back to the sisters, Misti was still laughing at Kate when Chantal had another comment, "One thing that did surprise me was that some of our friends had no idea that Nova Scotia was part of Canada. One of my girlfriends thought we went to Europe."
Mr. Hagal had an answer to that, "That show is coming up in a couple of weeks. We send a group of Explorers to Spain in search of a Moorish outpost." Then he turned to the Old Hands, "This was your third outing, how did it stack up to the others? Jimmy? Anne?"
She answered first, "I loved it, we were with the kids, that made it so much better. Every evening, being at the dinner and the party with them. And then when we were all working on the graves together. It was just wonderful."
Bobbi agreed with her from across the stage, "Yes, exactly. I wish we could have done it like this in Belize."
Jimmy laughed, "All of these people wouldn't have fit in that underground tomb."
Alex had a suggestion, "We could have worked in shifts."
"We'll remember that for next time."
Cheryl moved the discussion to whether each group thought they'd won.
Jack was shaking his head, "I thought we were close, maybe down to a decision by the Professor about what we'd found, until they found the graves of the soldiers. Nothing we came across all week compared to that."
"Yeah, we couldn't compete with that," Sean added. "Did they ever identify the unit they were in?"
Mr. Hagal turned to Doctor Arsenault, "We'll let our Chairman of the Anthropology Department at Dalhousie University in Halifax answer, after these messages."
Cheryl's best smile was on display, "Welcome back. We've got images of some of the items excavated from the graves that our Old Hands have admitted broke the tie between our two teams of Explorers. Doctor Arsenault, please take us through what we've got."
He nodded to the image on the screen of the solitary grave, "This was a British soldier. And it was with this one that we got the best information on. We've identified his musket as one of the famous Brown Bess military arms. A smoothbore flintlock used by the English for over a hundred years. And we've also identified his unit, he was from the Ninth Dragoons. A unit which we did not know had any representatives in Canada. But he was definitely from Britian, and quite possibly from Bedford, which we determined from an analysis of one of his molars." He indicated a decayed badge that had been part of his uniform, "We've sent this image to one of my contacts in Britain. They initially indicated that it was the Bedford unit, but then they said that there was a bit of a difference to it, so they're doing some more checking on it."
"And now the three graves that were together."
The professor nodded. "As we thought out in the field, they were French. Two of them were from a unit of Royal Fulsiliers, named for the weapon they carried," he showed the badges and marks that were still visible. "And our third man here, with his sword, was an officer, but we haven't been able to determine his exact rank." The image of the handle of the sword was on the screen. "That he was buried here, and without a marker, leads me to believe he was a lower ranking field officer who wasn't from a noble family."
"Were they from the battle during the action on the island in the Seventeen Forties?" Cheryl asked him.
"Without a doubt. We confirmed it with various dating techniques, including carbon dating, and with the known dates on the artifacts in the graves and found around the area, we have fixed the battle as 1745."
"And after this break, we come down to crowning a winner, and a special announcement from the government of Nova Scotia."
Mr. Hagal had a very serious look on his face when they came back from commercial. "If you've just joined us, then you'll be surprised to hear the proclamation of the winners of our Challenge in Nova Scotia. But everybody else already knows that the discovery of the graves of the soldiers of both sides in King George's War had put the Newcomers far ahead, and, in fact, sealed the victory for the parents and friends of our newest Explorer. They will each receive a share of the original grand prize, and the accumulated awards that have been added since then."
The camera cut to Jodi in her mother's arms while the other Newcomers celebrated.
"But now, we have Mr. and Mrs. Pubnico here in the studio from Nova Scotia with an official proclamation."
The older couple stood up and stepped forward dramatically, then Mr. Pubnico smiled a perfect false teeth smile, "We are greatly honored to congratulate the winners of the challenges on behalf of the entire Province of Nova Scotia, and add that we are deeply grateful for not only the work they all did, but the reverence they showed for our history." He bowed slightly, then turned to his wife.
"So, it is with absolute joy that I can announce that the grateful members of the Royal Historical Society, the Government of Nova Scotia, Dalhousie University, and even our own group from the Cape Breton Farmer's Market have come together to match the original prize and present it to the Old Hand's. And, for both groups, to extend an complimentary offer of a digging-free extended weekend lodging and tour of Nova Scotia to all of the families that have done such exceptional work."
Her husband then chimed in with something for the new mother, "And I will personally guarantee you at least one meal of lobster poutine."
And more cheers ensued.
Cheryl's smile was genuine, "And there you have it, we finally have a winner with our original group of Explorers from Saint Louis, and it is not our original group of Explorers from Saint Louis, it is the Newcomers from Saint Louis. We'll see you next week when three new Explorer couples find themselves in the wilds of Scotland on Extreme Real World Travel."
11. "And that's a wrap."
One of the cameras was on during a party in the campground, Cheryl sat her cup down and you could clearly see that it was less than half full, then she returned to the dance floor. Nick glanced sideways at the camera, then reached over with the bottle of local wine and poured some in her cup until it was about three quarters full.
Somebody off camera said something we couldn't hear and Nick answered, "This is the third time I've filled her cup up. She hasn't noticed. She'll dance this song, come back, drink some more, and go back. And I'll fill it up again."
There was a quick cut to the ending of the song, Cheryl came back, all smiles, drank most of her wine, then as the next song began, she turned around, already dancing, and headed back to the others. And Nick refilled her cup.
Kenda and Carter were on the side of Franey Mountain, "Is this the only way up there?" she asked him.
"No, no. There's a couple of other ways. We could walk up the creek path..."
"Is this the only way to drive up there?"
"No, no. There's another way off over there, we come in from the West, but you have to go North, and then turn and come back this way and..."
"Is this the only good way up there?"
"Pretty much, yes ma'am."
The camera turned to look at the rocks and stumps that were blocking the path the trucks were on.
"And this is the good way," she said to the camera.
The Old Hands were standing around just off the main set for the TV show, Jimmy was shaking his head, "I still can't believe we're the losers after all that."
"You've been a loser for years," Jack offered to comfort his old friend.
He got elbowed from both sides, but it was Anne who said, "But look at everything we did."
Jimmy finally nodded, "Yeah, we got to go to Belize, and Kirggi... Kryidge...."
"Kyrgyzstan," several of them said for him.
"Yeah, there. And now Nova Scotia. But we still ended up losing."
"But look who we lost to," Lana pointed to the Newcomers who were just coming out from back stage.
"That kinda makes it worse."
Back in the camp, after the adventure with the collapsing foundation hole there were several students cleaning up equipment.
Sam and Susan and some of the others were watching Mike test the radar unit that had been almost half buried by the slumping wall of the trench before Sean had yanked it out.
"The warranty only covers normal field operational exposure to dirt and water," Sam said somewhat seriously.
Mike was blowing stuff out of the ports on the side with canned air, "Well, this was a normal field operation, right?"
"If you forgot, it wasn't in a field, it was in a hole in the ground in a tidal flood plane during high tide."
Mike looked up and shrugged, "Sounds like normal operations for us."
They were in the first tie-breaker site, the one on the wrong side of the bay.
"How could they have gotten their map that wrong?" Mr. Hagal asked Doctor Arsenault.
"I can think of two ways. One was that they were completely hafvilla by everything, bewildered, and thought that perhaps they were on the other side of the Island, something like that. An innocent mistake."
"What's the other way?"
"That they didn't expect us to check it out and were planning on coming back and exploiting the site for their own financial gain. That kind of thing happens all too often."
Mr. Hagal frowned, "I'd rather think that it was an innocent mistake."
"So would I."
"OK, you guys know how to do this," Kenda said to the Old Hands as she arranged the two groups on the stage with Mr. Hagal's place between them.
"You mean you're not going to tell us to act excited and interested in what he's saying?"
"No, I'm not."
Jack pretended to be pouting.
"All right. Don't talk too much, look interested, and be ready to clap and cheer."
He perked up.
Now it was the Newcomers turn. "I can be really excited," Emmy said, and clapped and made happy noises to prove it.
Kenda watched her for a few seconds, "Well, maybe not that excited would be good."
She turned it down a notch.
Mr. Hagal was on the phone at the construction site. He was waving one hand back and forth and shouting into the phone first in English, then in broken French, and then finally in some rather colorful language that was well beeped and his lips were blurred on TV.
He stopped and listened for a moment, then he went through his animated speech and gestures again.
Then he walked toward the path toward the cabin and looked and listened for something. Then he talked and waved some more with some more beeping and blurs.
Finally he hung up, still beeping, when Kenda asked him about the all terrain vehicles.
Mr. Hagal started to say something, then he glanced at the camera and made an unpleasant face and shook his head.
"That's what you looked like when you tried that horse milk liquor in Kyrgyzstan."
"The Kumis," he nodded, "I could use some of that vodka we had there right now."
"Not the horse milk?"
"No, while this is bad, it's not that bad," his expression didn't soften any, "I'm not sure anything is."
"Thanks for watching, we'll see you next week."
end Travel 3
[NOTE: No colonial burials, or Viking Camps, or anything else, was harmed in the writing of this story. While the discovery of the mentioned historic sites in the area mentioned is entirely possible: ... All situations and characters are FICTIONAL. Overall this Piece Is A FICTIONAL STORY, enjoy it as such.
Thank You the Author. ]
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