Hundreds of thousands of artifacts have been recovered by the project, with new finds almost every day. A small museum at the site displays coins, cannon, gold pins, a mouth harp, cod-splitting knives, silver bodkins and hundreds of other day-to-day objects from the 1600s, including a gravestone inscribed, "Here Lyeth Ye Nickholos."
Haven for Catholics
While European settlements in other parts of North America swelled into big cities or sizable towns, their physical histories plowed under by urban development, many tiny ports of Newfoundland evolved into more or less modern places without resort to bulldozer or power shovel.
Avalon, for example, changed its name - becoming Ferryland - but not its nature, having remained a tiny fishing village through the centuries, while its past all but vanished except for a few old stories. The original settlement was covered by drifting sand, fishing trash and harbor-side shacks, but there was never any reason to destroy the foundations to make way for growth.
Ferryland's centuries of somnolence are today's archaeological boon.
Avalon was founded by Sir George Calvert, who later as Lord Baltimore created an eponymous settlement in Maryland, famed as the "first" colony to welcome Catholic settlers banned elsewhere in the English New World.
Newfoundlanders don't begrudge the city of Baltimore its glory but want to keep the record straight. "North America's first colony dedicated to religious tolerance was here in Newfoundland, not Maryland," said Tuck. "Avalon was founded with the idea of giving haven to persecuted Catholics."