In March 2005, Davis MacIntyre & Associates conducted an archaeological resource impact assessment for the Salter's Gate Marriott Hotel development in metropolitan Halifax. The Hotel, which was opened in 2007, stands on the north side of the Alexander Keith's Brewery on the city's historic waterfront. The purpose of the assessment was to locate, identify, and provide a mitigation strategy for any heritage resources encountered within the study area. 

Investigation Stage

Background Research:

A detailed historical sketch of the study area revealed that the city block was settled days after the founding of Halifax in 1749. The first allotment of land on this block was to John Shippey, a brewer and tavern keeper. Shippey was granted the first license to brew and sell liquor in Halifax on 17 July 1749. John Shippey named his tavern "The Double Eagle" which quickly became known as "The Split Crow"

Along Lower Water Street residences, businesses, and light industrial ventures combined to create the waterfront while the upper portion of the block along Hollis Street was home to several small businesses and row houses.

Mitigation Stage


A total of 34 archaeological features were discovered beneath the north end of this city block. Building foundations, backyard privies, middens, wells, a cistern, stables, drains, and cobble roadways (Hollis and Salter Streets) produced tens of thousands of artifacts. Items range from domestic glass and ceramic wares to shoe buckles, buttons, clay pipes, and a felt hat. 

The project proved to be a great benefit not only to the professional community but to the public as well, in the form of media coverage and education, and to high school and university students who had the unique opportunity to participate in the excavation and artifact analysis. The project added greatly to our understanding of of early Halifax history. Today, a selection of artifacts from the excavation are on display in the lobby of the Marriott Hotel.

Foundation of row houses and an unidentified brick feature

The process of mending artifacts

Annular pearlware pitcher (c. 1780-1820)

Annular pearlware bowl (c. 1780-1820)

Blue Willow pearlware teapot (c. 1780-1820)

Felted hat, late 18th-early 19th century

Brass shoe buckle (late 18th-early 19th century)

Vulcanite rubber dentures (post-1830)

“J. J. Richards Soda” torpedo bottle

Partially-excavated remains of wooden stables


Conservation of silver-plated fork

Creamware beer tankard (c. 1762-1780)

Locally-manufactured Maritime redware bowl, 19th century

Gold-plated filigree bracelet with glass insets

Children’s pearlware plate

Children’s cup (mid-19th century)

Clay tobacco pipe, mid-19th century

Child’s pearlware tea set (c. 1780-1820)

Washing and sorting artifacts


Brass clothing buckle

Blue transfer-printed pearlware bowl (c. 1780-1820)

Napoleon III Halifpenny, 1855


Scottish stamped pearlware (c. 1840)

Hand-painted pearlware bowl (c. 1780-1800)

Toothpaste jar lid (mid-19th century)

“Garibaldi” clay tobacco pipe, mid-19th century

An assortment of buttons