Dykes and Aboiteaus Along the Parrsboro Shore and Apple River

By Kerr Canning

email Kerr Canning


Dyking Spade used by the Advocate sod (parement) cutter Arthur Harrison Morris ( 1878- 1955)

Dykes and aboiteaus have almost never been regarded as monuments worthy of study and preservation, despite their once-crucial function and defining nature in terms of landscape-change; very few are to be found in sites and monuments records (SMRs), and very few still have been surveyed, excavated, and protected. Their treatment has generally been cavalier.

Allen, J. R. L. "The Geoarchaeology of Land-Claim in Coastal Wetlands: A Sketch from Britain and the North-West European Atlantic-North Sea Coasts." Archaeological Journal 154 (1997), p. 6

I have attended the making of Dikes and Aboiteaus ( A term used by the original French settlers, for a great Dam, in Dyking) since the year 1764. I was present when the first Aboiteau of any consequence was made here, by the English which was superintended by two Frenchmen, and observed their proceedings. I was appointed a Commissioner of Sewers in the year 1777, and having continued that office ever since [1777 1819 42 years] it has given me an opportunity of improving a little and I have been so fortunate as not to lose but very little of my labours. [Crane died in 1820.]

This statement was written by Jonathan Crane in the 27 February 1819 issue of the Acadian Recorder provides a strong indication that the Minas Basis Townships Planters adopted the Acadian dyking methods.

A possible Acadian aboiteau on the Fox River salt marsh.
Photo by Kerr Canning 19/07/2006

  • 1_Study Area

  • 1_New Material for the Study Area: Glooscap and Postglacial Geology

  • 2_Colonial Settlers

  • 3_Commissioners Of Sewers For Dykeland Farming.

  • 4_Dykes at Advocate

  • 5_Dykes at Apple River

  • 6_Dykes at Diligent River

  • 7_Dykes at Fox River

  • 8_The Dyke at Spencer's Island

  • 9_Dykeland References