The REM organization while doing an excavation for their new Montreal Light Transit system, in the area of the Back Rock hired archeologists for a particular area where the Famine Cemetery was located. These archeologists using a great deal of care and respect located the remains of 14 individual victims from Black 47. These remains were then transported to a laboratory where testing was preformed. Due to Covid there was some delay in getting the results but on June 9, 2022, the Board members of the Montreal Irish Monument Park Foundation were invited to the actual lab to hear what they have discovered so far.

Remains of a 15 year old male found at the site

Their fascinating report is very, very detailed and here are a couple of highlights (and we may add more in the next days) that we are sure would be of interest.

  • 10 of the remains were found intact and consisted of 5 adults – approximate ages were 20+ years old; 21+ years old; 25-30 years old; 30-60 years old; and one 60+ years old.
    Three children aged 6-12 months; 21/2 – 5 years; and 9 – 14 years old were found.
    There were also 2 adolescents – one about 14-16 years old and the other 15-17 years old.
    The four other remains were not found fully intact but were determined to be 2 adults between 17 and 25 years old; the 2 babies less than one year old.
  • They also found a few artifacts including things like buttons and small metal pieces that could have also been buttons or perhaps a jewellery clasp.
  • Based on insects found with the remains, they could determine that these burials likely took places in August or September of 1847 and that at least one remained unburied for a day or two after dying.
  • Based on “Famine Indicators” – one being traces of maze (Indian Corn) in the teeth that had been imported into Ireland in 1846, during the famine etc., it can be determined that at least 9 of these individuals came directly from Ireland; 2 others may have come from Britain.
  • It will likely be another few months before we are able to receive the DNA details for each of these individuals.

Click here to view the full report