“Curse of the Axe” premieres on History Television

It is safe to conclude that most North Americans do not consider the true heritage of the land they inhabit but cling to the largely European heritage that traces and celebrates our beginnings to the relatively recent white discoverers, explorers or invaders. Deep down, of course, if prompted or reminded, we can remember that long before we got here the land was populated by people that had thrived on their own for centuries. Monday, on History, famed rock musician and composer Robbie Robertson narrates a new feature-length documentary that helps tell more of that original history. And, as Churchill once said, the story is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.

Curse of the Axe unfolds like a best page-turning detective story. It starts with the earth-shaking archaeological discovery of “Mantle”, by far the largest and most complex Huron First Nations village ever found. Dr. Ron Williamson,one of Canada’s foremost First Nation experts and lead archaeologist on the dig, describes the discovery as “an Indiana Jones moment”, after excavation of the site turns up first hundreds, then thousands of native artifacts.

When the site, located in present-day Stouffville, not far from Toronto, is radiocarbon-dated to around 1500-1530 A.D., a stunned Dr. Williamson and his team members Andrea Carnevale and Dr. Jennifer Birch realize they have found something unheard of in the history of the Huron. The sheer size and scope of this 500 year-old Huron Wendat village has shocked historians and fundamentally changed our understanding of North American life before “contact”, that is, the arrival of the Europeans.

Mantle contains 90 longhouses surrounded by a high, defensive three-row wooden wall or “palisade” that required the Huron to cut down 60,000 trees - using only stone axes! Beyond the walls the Huron cultivated over 2,000 acres of cornfields, stretching over two kilometers from Mantle in every direction - enough to feed its thousands of inhabitants. The Mantle discovery, as revealed by research in the film, shows a level of organization, agriculture and extensive trading that is forcing known history to be rewritten.

But the revelations do not end with the discoveryof the village itself. Compounding the mystery of this remarkable discovery is a second, shocking find.

During the excavation, a mysterious metal object is unearthed, buried with great care and respectdeep in the earth and in the middle of the village. It is a piece of iron – a material unknown to the aboriginal peoples of this region until it was brought by Europeans like Étienne Brûlé, Samuel de Champlain, the Jesuits, and others nearly 100 years later.

The discovery is initially met with skepticism, until the rusty artifact was subjected to powerful, industrial x-ray examination, which revealed that the iron was forged, rather than made by the later process of cast iron. Underneath the rust, the x-ray also revealed two small forge marks. That evidence confirmed that the piece of iron was, in fact, what it appeared to be: a five hundred year-old fragment of what had likely been an axe, and European in origin. It is the earliest European piece of iron ever found in the North American interior.

This startling discovery raises more questions than it answers. How did a piece of European iron get to Mantle almost 100 years before the arrival of the first Europeans in this part of the world? Where did it come from? And why did the people of Mantle bury it? Did the Huron have a premonition that the piece of iron represented a curse: the coming of the Europeans and the end of their way of life?

Digging deep into historical documents and using cutting-edge forensic technology, the search for answers leads the archaeologists on a worldwide journey full of unexpected twists and turns. The ultimate solution to mystery surrounding the origin and journey of the discovered axe is a fitting end to this remarkable riddle.

But the discovery, excavation and revelations about Mantle and the buried iron axe fragment are not all about the past. They have special meaning for one group of present-day people: the descendants of the Huron Wendat. Smallpox, measles and influenza brought by the Europeans killed off two-thirds of their population within a generation. Their numbers were further reduced by warfare with the Iroquois, and the Huron Wendat were dispersed. Many of the surviving members of the Nation finally took refuge in Wendake, near Quebec City, where they still live today, although elements of their culture and their language have almost been lost to centuries of assimilation. But the recent discoveries of Mantle and the mysterious blade have helped them to learn more about their distant past.

In Curse of the Axe, Luc Lainé, a member of the Huron Wendat Nation and a Huron ambassador, rallies the Grand Chief and elders of his Nation and they make the 10-hour journey back to their homeland to take part in the archaeology of a newly-discovered Huron village near Mantle and walk through Mantle in the footsteps of their ancestors.

“The discoveries revealed in Curse of the Axe confound everything known about the Huron Wendat before the arrival of the Europeans,” said the film’s executive producer, Elliott Halpern. “The film is a rollercoaster of a detective story, in which our archaeologists go to extraordinary lengths to find answers to the baffling questions they confront. What they find rewrites history as we know it. But, as we see in the film, their discoveries also give a renewed sense of identity to the descendants of the Huron Wendat, a Nation who were displaced from their Ontario homeland hundreds of years ago.”

Curse of the Axe tells this fascinating story of the rediscovery of the past through a combination of rich dramatic recreations, high-end CGI and riveting documentary investigation, plunging viewers back in time 500 years to early 16th Century Canada – and revealing an extraordinary world that pre-dated the arrival of the Europeans by nearly a hundred years.

Produced by yap films in association with Shaw Media, Curse of the Axe is narrated by Robbie Robertson and premieres on History Television on Monday, July 9 at 8PM. (SOURCE)

VIDEO First Nations history books rattled by new discovery

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Responses to "Curse of The Axe on History (Video)"

  1. Anonymous says:

    Thankyou so much, dear friend, to tell us the truth from your mouth, your story...No one else but your's, I have no word's exept i'm glad the world will know. Thank you so much again. I share <3

  2. Tiffany says:

    Thank you for sharing this with the public! Thank you!

  3. Anonymous says:


  4. Eric the Red was chased Away In 1000 By The Chinese, Non Violence is Due to The Chinese BeingTired Of Constantly Fighting With The Moguls....KEEP Digging But Keep Your Eye On CORN Prices it Drives EVERYTHING !!!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Basques, my friends, basques. They settled in the esat coast before Columbus but they don´t like to say this in the spanish history books because political problems. In fact Vikings arrived to the new world before but basques did settled a huge whaling industry (the fist industrial activity in the new world)and have connected with other cultures and nations. In fact the basque whalers did speak Basque, Spanish, French and some of them Iceland and Basque pilgrin or Native-Basque pilgrims.

  6. In the early 1970's as one of my 1st male cousins and I were exploring along a river bank I have always had somewhat of an interest in things old and ancient also a bit of a rock hound. Anyway I saw a rock on the bank there seemed to be a vein of fools gold in it I picked it up and handed it to my cousin and asked him to break it open, he began hitting it with another rock shortly thereafter he called out to me cousin Mike look he held the rock up to me it was split in half, and in the center there appeared to be what was about the size of a pea in diameter-circumference a coin oval shaped in appearance it was gold in color and had imprinted on one side the bust of a man's upper body from the waist up, up to that time in my life I head read a number of history books of ancient Rome,Greeks,Phoniecians, and others anyway the coin's image looked Greek or Roman with a laurel wreath on his head and a robe hair was sort and layed flat on his head, anyway I left the coin was in my pocket and was lost after washing it.

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