Archaeological collections

More than 850,000 artIfacts and biofacts

Thanks to archaeological digs undertaken by the City of Montréal in Old Montréal since the eighties, particularly on the sites that are part of the Pointe-à-Callière Museum today, the Museum has been able to assemble a rich collection that includes several hundred thousand objects and fragments from which the Museum can reconstittue the history of Montréal in its exhibitions.

As a result and over the years, the Museum has taken possession of archaeological collections discovered on digs on our own properties, namely 214 Place D’Youville, the birthplace of Montréal. The objects found there have allowed to document the different periods of occupation of the site, from the Ville-Marie Fort era and the Callière's Residence and subsequent times.

The archaeological reconstituted so far illustrate all the periods of occupation of the area including:

  • The Prehistoric Aboriginal period (4,000 years ago up to the arrival of the first Europeans);
  • The Aboriginal/European period of the 16th Century;
  • The New France period from the 17th Century to the mid 18th Century;
  • The British period from the mid 18th Century to the mid 19th Century;
  • The contemporary period (North-American, Canadian, Québec from the 19th Century through the 20th Century.

The collections are made up Aboriginal articles, objects exchanged and at treaties, domestic and industrial articles as well as bone fragments, shells and various samples. Fabricated in North America, Europe (France, England, Ireland, Scotland, Germany, Holland, Italy, Spain) and even Asia (China and Japan, and used in Montréal, these objects allow to reconstitute the different aspects of the daily lives of Montréalers through the ages (diet, health, hygiene, transportation, clothing, cults and rituals, games and entertainment, methods of communications, architecture, commerce and more.)

Some parts of the archaeological collections are displayed in rooms in the Museum and particularly in the Where Montréal Was Born exhibit located in the ruins. The archaeological collections also include vestiges of furniture from three important Old Montréal buildings: Maison Du-Calvet (460 objects from the 18th and 19th Centuries, Mariners’ House (more than 5,000 artefacts, the majority from the period 1760 to 1780) and, finally, St. Ann’s Market and the United Parliament of Canada with an important collection comprising more than 500,000 artIfacts dating from 1820 to 1900.

Shoe - Woman’s leather shoe
1879 - 16,5 x 8,7 x 26,7 cm
Handle - Small rectangular plate with a hole at either end, one of them for holding a pivoting blade or small tool of some kind. The name CHARLOTE ROC is roughly engraved on it. A knife or tool handle?
New France period (1688-1765) - 1,16 x 4,79 x 0,4 cm
Knife blades - Iron strips that appear to be knife blades.
New France period (1688-1765) - 7,9 to 17 cm.
Jesuit ring - Copper alloy “Jesuit” ring.
New France period (1688-1805) - 0,5 x 2,17 cm
Lice comb - Part of a small lice comb. Teeth on either side of a centre section. The teeth are closer together on one side.
4,6 x 2,6 cm
Bead - Oblong bead. White glass with appliquéd black glass.
Fort de Ville-Marie period, 1642-1688 - 1,3 x 1,1 cm
Domino - Top of a domino: 6 dots on one side and 4 on the other. Fastened with a copper rivet.
1879-1960 period - 1,6 x 3 cm
Pot - Shards, many of them reassembled, from a pot with an out-turned rim. The base is missing. Buff-coloured body. Green glaze inside and brown and yellow streaks on the outside near the top.
Fort de Ville-Marie period, 1642-1688 - 10 x 10 x 5 cm
Glass - Opaque white glass: 7 tubular, 11 oblong, 3 round, 3 doughnut-shaped embroidery beads; opaque blue glass: 2 tubular beads and one tubular half bead; violet glass: one tubular and one oblong bead. One red, white, and blue round bead.
1650 - 1,15 cm
Triangular tip - Triangular long-stemmed tip recovered from a cauldron.
1688 - 2,5 x 4,9 cm
Fragments of slate - Fragments of slate, which, when reassembled, show incised concentric lines.
1765 - 15 x 22 cm
Projectile point - Amerindian projectile point obtained from a European gunflint.
1805 - 2,3 x 2,4 cm
Pipe bowl - Pipe bowl with an effigy probably representing Sir Walter Raleigh. The shape and finish of the highly decorated pipe stem suggest that a detachable stem could be fitted to the pipe. Marking under the flat heel of the pipe. Probably made in Holland (1625-1650). The pipe bowl is bulbous and there is a very wide angle between the stem and the bowl’s opening.
1650 - 2,7 x 3,2 cm
Shard from an Amerindian vase. (6.2 x 4.7 cm)

				Archaeological collections
				Collections archéologiques

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In situ remains