Saturday, September 23, 2023

Public invited to dig up history at Chat Falls

Connor Lalande
Quyon September 7, 2023
Pontiacers with a keen historical inclination will soon be able to try their hands as archaeologists at the historical site of the Chats Falls hydro dam.
The river where the dam sits near Quyon used to be home to large waterfalls, and so was the site of a major portage and trading post for Indigenous and settler travelers, according to a press release from the Friends of Chats Falls announcing public archaeological digs as part of the groups Archéo-Pontiac project.
The release also highlights the site’s later development by lumber barons such as Ruggles Wright and John Egan, the latter of whom is credited with founding the town of Quyon.
Billing itself as an opportunity for families and history buffs to partake in a “powerful cultural experience”, Archéo-Pontiac’s public digs will bring together historians, archaeologists, educators and the public in an exploration of regional history.
Participants will have the opportunity to learn about archaeological methods and tools and assist in the excavation of predetermined plots. Historians and archaeologists will be on hand to talk about the history of the region and interpret any archaeological findings.
For Maude-Emmanuelle Lambert, historian and founding member of Friends of Chats Falls, the public dig is an opportunity for people to learn about history in a different way, outside of the confines of a classroom in which it is conventionally taught.
“Most of the time when we talk about history, it’s in the classroom. With archaeology, you are on the field. You’re there on site, you’re touching and feeling, and it really brings out a deeper connection with the people who once lived there,” Lambert said .
Archaeological surveys have been done in the area before, notably during the late 70s and early 80s, according to Lambert.
The area has drawn interest for its rich Indigenous and settler history. Any artifacts found during the digs will first be sent to a lab for analysis and then, depending on the artifact, could be donated to a local museum for preservation.
The digs are scheduled to take place during the weekends of September 16-17 and 23-24, from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Those interested in attending are asked to register at the Domaine de Pontiac Village south of Quyon, where they will be directed to the dig site.

Historian and founding member of Friends of Chats Falls Maude-Emmanuelle Lambert at a Public Archeological Survey in August of 2022.


This article is available free to all subscribers to The Equity. If you are a subscriber, please enter your email address and password below.


If you are a subscriber but have not yet set up your online account, please contact Liz Draper at to do so.


To become a subscriber to The Equity, please use our Subscribe page or contact