The Bayer’s Lake mystery walls

Bayer's Lake Mystery Walls. Photo: Verdanik/Wikimedia Commons

One of my favourite local puzzles is a site known as the “Bayer’s Lake Mystery Walls.”

For many years, researchers and archeologists have pondered the stone outline of a five-sided stone structure and 120-metre-long wall in the woods near the Chain of Lakes Trail. Many fanciful theories have emerged over the years to explain the centuries-old mystery. Some say the work dates back to early First Nations inhabitants, others imagine early Vikings.

While the site does predate Canada, the more plausible theories link it to colonial times. Many who have studied it believe it served some kind of military function during the early settlement of Halifax in the late 1700s and early 1800s.

There is speculation that the site may have been used in 1758 to prepare for the storming of the Fortress of Louisburg or for defence during the war of 1812. Its elevated position on a hill, with a wide view of the surrounding area, suggest these kinds of answers, as does the fact that when Halifax was founded, in 1749, it was used as a military garrison town.

Jonathan Fowler, an associate professor in the anthropology department at Saint Mary’s University, extensively researched the site in 2017. “I don’t think we’ve got a conclusive answer, or set of answers just yet,” he said in a report summarizing his work.

But he did learn enough to propose a new and less dramatic theory about the site’s origin.

“They are now beginning to look less like fabrications of wonder and mystery and more like the work of ordinary labouring people,” Fowler said, add that such a domestic use in no way diminishes the site’s value. “We should value their stories more than fanciful speculation about foreign princes and buried treasure.”

Click here for details on how to visit the site. Note: The location is protected by the Nova Scotia Special Places Protection Act and monitored by trail cameras; walking on or disturbing the rocks is forbidden.

This story was originally published in Halifax Magazine.

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