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Castle at the Cross

Like Darwin, I am a professional archaeologist and a Sinclair descendant.  I
have been following the discussion of the Castle at the Cross with a great
deal of interest.  I believe that the approach that Darwin has suggested -
researching Nova Scotian antiquity laws and regulations, examining the site,
and developing a data recovery plan - is sound.  I would suggest adding a
couple of other steps prior to writing the data recovery plan, however.
These would include a thorough mapping and documentation of any structural
remains and artifacts that may be apparent on the surface of the site,
interviews with locals to see what traditions exist regarding the site's
antiquity and origin, and research into local or regional archival
repositories (land deeds, plats and other old maps, etc.).  These steps
would be relatively inexpensive, could be performed by one or very few
knowledgeable individuals, and might reveal a great deal of information
about the site without ever sticking a shovel into the ground.  The next
step might be a very limited subsurface testing program (assuming, of
course, that landowner permission is granted), using the data gathered
during the previous phases of the investigation to guide the placement of a
few strategic test pits.  I would suggest use of a metal detector during
this phase.  This smacks of treasure hunting to some, but would be very
useful for identifying the location of metal artifacts that might be
diagnostic of the time period to which the site belongs.  The locations of
"hits" with the metal detector could be investigated with 1 meter x 1 meter
or smaller test pits, excavated in a controlled fashion.  Other test pits
might be used (sparingly) to delineate the edges of structures and to
recover material for C-14 dating and dendrochronology (tree-ring dating).
The advantages of a limited testing program are twofold.  Without too much
time, money, or damage, the alleged 14th century origin of the site might be
confirmed or refuted.  Secondly, information would have been obtained about
the layout of structures and features, and the depth and location of the
archaeological deposits, which will allow for preparation of a better data
recovery plan, should this be deemed feasible.

I believe the investigation of this site to be a worthy undertaking.  Good luck!

Rand Greubel