Archaeologists working at the construction site of a future real estate development in downtown Halifax are unearthing some interesting artifacts along the city’s waterfront.

Once completed, the Queen’s Marque development will occupy 450,000 feet and 10 stories of prime waterfront real estate, but it’s what lies beneath the site that is capturing people’s attention.

“At this point, we’re starting to make bigger excavations,” says archaeologist Kathryn Stewart. “That’s why we’re starting to find different foundations and expose them.”

“Anywhere you build in Halifax you expect to find old foundations, trenches, drains, and then around those there’s usually interesting tidbits into the history of Halifax and the city,” says Blaise Morrison of The Armour Group Limited.

The site of the Queen’s Marque development is one of the oldest areas in Halifax.  The city began infilling the harbour shortly after Halifax was founded in 1749, which makes the discovery of an old stone foundation especially interesting.

“This foundation behind us is a 1780s guard house. It’s the second … there was an earlier guard house that was kind of, it was probably more likely in Lower Water Street, so this is kind of a later version of it basically,” says Stewart.

In addition to the stone foundation, archaeologists dug up a cannonball and an old boot during the trenching process.

“Both of those are at the conservator now, she’s dealing with those,” says Stewart. “I got to see the boot a couple weeks ago and it’s just looking fantastic.”

The artifacts are being catalogued and they could eventually end up in a museum, or be put on display at Queen’s Marque.

“We’re excited about the opportunity to reuse those onsite in the landscape, the building plans, or the development,” says Morrison.

The Queen’s Marque is scheduled to be completed in 2019.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Allan April